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LYSBETH 

A TALE OF THE DUTCH 



WORKS BY H. RIDER HAGGARD. 



CETYWAYO AND His WHITE NEIGHBOURS. 

DAWN. 

KING SOLOMON'S MINES. 

THE WITCH'S HEAD. 

SHE. 

ALLAN QUATERMAIN. 

JESS. 

COLONEL QUARITCH, V.C. 

MAIWA'S REVENGE. 

MR. MEESON s WILL. 

ALLAN'S WIFE. 

CLEOPATRA. 

BEATRICE. 

ERIC BRIGHTEYES. 

NADA THE LILY. 

MONTEZUMA'S DAUGHTER 

THE PEOPLE OF THE MIST. 

JOAN HASTE. 

HEART OF THE WORLD. 

DOCTOR THERNE. 

SWALLOW. 

BLACK HEART AND WHITE HEART. 

A FARMER'S YEAR. 

(IN COLLABORATION WITH ANDREW LANG) 
THE WORLD'S DESIRE. 




\\ 4 



LYSBETH 



A TALE OF THE DUTCH 



BY 

H. RIDER HAGGARD 

AUTHOR OF "JESS," "SHE," "KING SOLOMON'S MINES, 
"SWALLOW," ETC., ETC. 



WITH TWENTY-SIX ILLUSTRATIONS BY 

G. P. JACOMB HOOD, R.I. 



LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 

39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON 



PR 



li 




COPTBIOHT, 1900, BT 

RIDER HAGGARD 

PYRIGHT, 1901, BY 

ER HAGGARD 

rights reiervtd 



DEDICATION 

In token of the earnest reverence of a man of a later generation 
for his character, and for that life work whereof we inherit the 
fruits to-day, this tale of the times he shaped is dedicated to the 
memory of one of the greatest and most noble-hearted beings that 
the world has known; the immortal William, called the Silent, of 
Nassau. 



AUTHOR'S NOTE 

THEEE are, roughly, two ways of writing an historical 
romance the first to choose some notable and leading 
characters of the time to be treated, and by the help of 
history attempt to picture them as they were ; the other, 
to make a study of that time and history with the country 
in which it was enacted, and from it to deduce the neces- 
sary characters. 

In the case of " Lysbeth" the author has attempted this 
second method. By an example of the trials, adventures, 
and victories of a burgher family of the generation of Philip 
II. and William the Silent, he strives to set before readers 
of to-day something of the life of those who lived through 
perhaps the most fearful tyranny that the western world 
has known. How did they live, one wonders ; how is it 
that they did not die of very terror, those of them who 
escaped the scaffold, the famine and the pestilence ? 

This and another Why were such things suffered to be ? 
seem problems worth consideration, especially by the 
young, who are so apt to take everything for granted, in- 
cluding their own religious freedom and personal security. 
How often, indeed, do any living folk give a grateful 
thought to the forefathers who won for us these advan- 
tages, and many others with them ? 

The writer has sometimes heard travellers in the Neth- 
erlands express surprise that even in an age of almost 
universal decoration its noble churches are suffered to re- 
main smeared with melancholy whitewash. Could they 
look backward through the centuries and behold with the 



viii AUTHOR'S NOTE. 

mind's eye certain scenes that have taken place within 
these very temples and about their walls, they would 
marvel no longer. Here we are beginning to forget the 
smart at the price of which we bought deliverance from 
the bitter yoke of priest and king, but yonder the sword bit 
deeper and smote more often. Perhaps that is why in Hol- 
land they still love whitewash, which to them may be a 
symbol, a perpetual protest ; and remembering stories that 
have been handed down as heirlooms to this day, frown 
at the sight of even the most modest sacerdotal vestment. 
Those who are acquainted with the facts of their history 
and deliverance will scarcely wonder at the prejudice. 



CONTENTS 
JSooft tbe fffrst 

THE SOWING 

CHAPTER PASS 

I. THE WOLF AND THE BADGER ..... 1 
II. SHE WHO BUYS PAYS 

III. MONTALVO WlXS A TRICK 

IV. THREE WAKINGS ......, 
V. THE DREAM OF DIRK . . . , . . 

VI. THE BETROTHAL OF LYSBETH . 

VII. HENDRIK BRANT HAS A VISITOR 

VIII. THE MARE'S STABLK ....... 

JBooft tbe Second 

THE EIPENING 

IX. ADRIAN, FOY, AND MARTIN THE RED .... 127 

X. ADRIAN GOES OUT HAWKING 147 

XI. ADRIAN RESCUES BEAUTY IN DISTRESS .... 163 

XII. THE SUMMONS 182 

XIII. MOTHER'S GIFTS ARE GOOD GIFTS . 197 



x CONTEXTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XIV. SWORD SILENCE RECKIVES THE SECRET . . . 214 

XV. SEffoR RAMIRO ^ .233 

XVI. THE MASTER " 261 

XVII. BETROTHED 268 

XVIII. FOY SEES A VISION 284 

XIX. THE FRAY IN THE SHOT TOWER . . . .299 

XX. IN THE GEVANGENHUIS 817 

XXI. How MARTIN TURNED COWARD 332 

XXII. A MEETING AND A PARTING , 845 




XXIII. FATHER AND SON 365 

XXIV. MARTHA PREACHES A SERMON AND TELLS A SECRET . 383 
XXV. THE RED MILL 398 

XXVI. THE BRIDEGROOM AND THE BRIDE .... 414 

XXVII. WHAT ELSA SAW IN THE MOONLIGHT . . . 484 

XXVIII. ATONEMENT 448 

XXIX. ADRIAN COMES HOME AGAIN 466 

XXX. Two SCENES , 486 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



" A FOUL, A Four, ! " Frontispiece. 

TO PACE 
PAGE 

THEY PASSED DOWN THE STAIRS 88 

"You WASTE TIME, EXCELLENCY. WHAT Do You WANT?" . 62 
THERE, BENEATH THE LIGHT OF THE GUTTERING CANDLES, 

THEY KNELT 78 

" I CANNOT, I CANNOT ! " 98 

" You ARE MARTHA THE MARE " - 117 

BEHOLD ! . . . THE PAIR OF THEM HAD GONE HEADLONG 

INTO THE CANAL 134 

THUS ... IT WAS THAT ADRIAN FIRST SAW . . . ELSA 

BRANT 166 

"I WILL SHOW You How A GENTLEMAN TREATS DOGS!" . 181 
FOY TURNED TO LOOK AT HENDRIK BRANT . . . .211 
HEEDLESS OF THEIR BULLETS, HANS THE PILOT ROSE TO His 

FEET AGAIN 217 

"SIXTY HOURS TO THE VERY MINUTE" 244 

" IT is IT is LOVE ! " . 259 

"!T is RAMIRO . . . RAMIRO THE SPY " 273 
ft I'LL NOT SIGN ! . . . I HAVE BEEN TRICKED ! " . .304 
Two MEN . . . BURSTING THROUGH THE BARRIER OF FLAM- 

INQ Woop , ,815 



xii ILL USTRA TIONS 

TO FACE 
PAGE 

HE SPRANG AT THE MAN LIKE A WILD CAT .... 336 

A LONG, LAST EMBRACE 864 

AFTER HIM CAME THE MOB '370 

"An! LOOK AT HIM Now" ....... 388 

THE WHITE AND TERRIFIED FACE OF ELSA BRANT . . 407 
"I AM NOT WILLING," CRIED ELSA . . . . .428 

THEN SHE REMEMBERED EVERYTHING 448 

THEN THERE CAME THE SOUND OF MARCHING MEN . . . 452 

"PAID BACK! PAID BACK, RAMIRO ! " . . t . . . 478 

THAT VERY NIGHT FOY CAME . . . 494 






Boofc tbe first 
THE SOWING 



ffioofc tbe first 
THE SOWING 

CHAPTER I 

THE WOLF AND THE BADGER 

THE time was in or about the year 1544, when the Em- 
peror Charles V. ruled the Netherlands, and our scene the 
city of Ley den. 

Any one who has visited this pleasant town knows that 
it lies in the midst of wide, flat meadows, and is intersected 
by many canals filled with Rhine water. But now, as it 
was winter, near to Christmas indeed, the meadows and 
the quaint gabled roofs of the city lay buried beneath a 
dazzling sheet of snow, while, instead of boats and barges, 
skaters glided up and down the frozen surface of the canals, 
which were swept for their convenience. Outside the walls 
of the town, not far from the Morsch poort, or gate, the 
surface of the broad moat which surrounded them pre- 
sented a sight as gay as it was charming. Just here one of 
the branches of the Rhine ran into this moat, and down it 
came the pleasure-seekers in sledges, on skates, or afoot. 
They were dressed, most of them, in their best attire, for 
the day was a holiday set apart for a kind of skating car- 
nival, with sleighing matches, such games as curling, and 
other amusements. 

Among these merry folk might have been seen a young 



2 LTSBETH 

lady of two or three and twenty years of age, dressed in a 
coat of dark green cloth trimmed with fur, and close-fit- 
ting at the waist. This coat opened in front, showing a 
broidered woollen skirt, but over the bust it was tightly 
buttoned and surmounted by a stiff ruff of Brussels lace. 
Upon her head she wore a high-crowned beaver hat, to 
which the nodding ostrich feather was fastened by a jew- 
elled ornament of sufficient value to show that she was a 
person of some means. In fact, this lady was the only child 
of a sea captain and shipowner named Carolus van Hout, 
who, whilst still a middle-aged man, had died about a year 
before, leaving her heiress to a very considerable fortune. 
This circumstance, with the added advantages of a very 
pretty face, in which were set two deep and thoughtful grey 
eyes, and a figure more graceful than was common among 
the Netherlander women, caused Lysbeth van Hout to be 
much sought after and admired, especially by the mar. 
riageable bachelors of Leyden. 

On this occasion, however, she was unescorted except by 
a serving woman somewhat older than herself, a native of 
Brussels, Greta by name, who in appearance was as attrac- 
tive as in manner she was suspiciously discreet. 

As Lysbeth skated down the canal towards the moat 
many of the good burghers of Leyden took off their caps 
to her, especially the young burghers, one or two of whom 
had hopes that she would choose them to be her cavalier 
for this day's fte. Some of the elders, also, asked her if 
she would care to join their parties, thinking that, as she 
was an orphan without near male relations, she might be 
glad of their protection in times when it was wise for beau- 
tiful young women to be protected. "With this excuse 
and that, however, she escaped from them all, for Lysbeth 
had already made her own arrangements. 

At that date there was living in Leyden a young man 
of four or five and twenty, named Dirk van Goorl, a dis- 



THE WOLF AND THE BADGER 3 

tant cousin of her own. Dirk was a native of the little 
town of Alkmaar, and the second son of one of its leading 
citizens, a brass founder by trade. As in the natural course 
of events the Alkmaar business would descend to his elder 
brother, their father apprenticed him to a Leyden firm, 
in which, after eight or nine years of hard work, he had 
become a junior partner. While he was still living, 
Lysbeth's father had taken a liking to the lad, with the 
result that he grew intimate at the house which, from 
the first, was open to him as a kinsman. After the death 
of Carolus van Hout, Dirk had continued to visit there, 
especially on Sundays, when he was duly and ceremoni- 
ously received by Lysbeth's aunt, a childless widow named 
Clara van Ziel, who acted as her guardian. Thus, by 
degrees, favoured with such ample opportunity, a strong 
affection had sprung up between these two young people, 
although as yet they were not affianced, nor indeed had 
either of them said a word of open love to the other. 

This abstinence may seem strange, but some explanation 
of their self-restraint was to be found in Dirk's character. 
In mind he was patient, very deliberate in forming his pur- 
poses, and very sure in carrying them out. He felt im- 
pulses like other men, but he did not give way to them. 
For two years or more he had loved Lysbeth, but being 
somewhat slow at reading the ways of women he was not 
quite certain that she loved him, and above everything on 
earth he dreaded a rebuff. Moreover he knew her to be an 
heiress, and as his own means were still humble, and his 
expectations from his father small, he did not feel justified 
in asking her in marriage until his position was more as- 
sured. Had the Captain Carolus still been living the case 
would have been different, for then he could have gone 
to him. But he was dead, and Dirk's fine and sensitive 
nature recoiled from the thought that it might be said of 
him that he had taken advantage of the inexperience of a 



4 LTSBETH 

kinswoman in order to win her fortune. Also deep down 
in his mind he had a sincerer and quite secret reason for 
reticence, whereof more in its proper place. 

Thus matters stood between these two. To-day, how- 
ever, though only with diffidence and after some encourage- 
ment from the lady, he had asked leave to be his cousin's 
cavalier at the ice fete, and when she consented, readily 
enough, appointed the moat as their place of meeting. 
This was somewhat less than Lysbeth expected, for she 
wished his escort through the town. But, when she hinted 
as much, Dirk explained that he would not be able to leave 
the works before three o'clock, as the metal for a large bell 
had been run into the casting, and he must watch it while 
it cooled. 

So, followed only by her maid, Greta, Lysbeth glided 
lightly as a bird down the ice path on to the moat, and 
across it, through the narrow cut, to the frozen mere be- 
yond, where the sports were to be held and the races run. 
There the scene was very beautiful. 

Behind her lay the roofs of Leyden, pointed, picturesque, 
and covered with sheets of snow, while above them towered 
the bulk of the two great churches of St. Peter and St. 
Pancras, and standing on a mound known as the Burg, the 
round tower which is supposed to have been built by the 
Komans. In front stretched the flat expanse of white 
meadows, broken here and there by windmills with narrow 
waists and thin tall sails, and in the distance, by the church 
towers of other towns and villages. 

Immediately before her, in strange contrast to this life- 
less landscape, lay the peopled mere, fringed around with 
dead reeds standing so still in the frosty air that they might 
have been painted things. On this mere half the popula- 
tion of Leyden seemed to be gathered ; at least there were 
thousands of them, shouting, laughing, and skimming to 
and fro in their bright garments like flocks of gay-plu- 



THE WOLF AND THE BADGER 5 

maged birds. Among them, drawn by horses with bells 
tied to their harness, glided many sledges of wickerwork 
and wood mounted upon iron runners, their fore-ends fash- 
ioned to quaint shapes, such as the heads of dogs or bulls, 
or Tritons. Then there were vendors of cakes and sweet- 
meats, vendors of spirits also, who did a good trade on 
this cold day. Beggars too were numerous, and among 
them deformities, who, nowadays, would be hidden in 
charitable homes, slid about in wooden boxes, which they 
pushed along with crutches. Lastly many loafers had 
gathered there with stools for fine ladies to sit on while the 
skates were bound to their pretty feet, and chapmen with 
these articles for sale and straps wherewith to fasten them. 
To complete the picture the huge red ball of the sun was 
sinking to the west, and opposite to it the pale full moon 
began already to gather light and life. 

The scene seemed so charming and so happy that Lys- 
beth, who was young, and now that she had recovered from 
the shock of her beloved father's death, light-hearted, 
ceased her forward movement and poised herself upon her 
skates to watch it for a space. While she stood thus a little 
apart, a woman came towards her from the throng, not as 
though she were seeking her, but aimlessly, much as a 
child's toy-boat is driven by light, contrary winds upon the 
summer surface of a pond. 

She was a remarkable-looking woman of about thirty- 
five years of age, tall and bony in make, with deep-set eyes, 
light grey of colour, that seemed now to flash fiercely and 
now to waver, as though in memory of some great dread. 
From beneath a coarse woollen cap a wisp of grizzled hair 
fell across the forehead, where it lay like the forelock of a 
horse. Indeed, the high cheekbones, scarred as though by 
burns, wide-spread nostrils and prominent white teeth, 
whence the lips had strangely sunk away, gave the whole 
countenance a more or less equine look which this falling 



6 LYSBETH 

lock seemed to heighten. For the rest the woman was 
poorly and not too plentifully clad in a gown of black 
woollen, torn and stained as though with long use and 
journeys, while on her feet she wore wooden clogs, to which 
were strapped skates that were not fellows, one being much 
longer than the other. 

Opposite to Lysbeth this strange, gaunt person stopped, 
contemplating her with a dreamy eye. Presently she 
seemed to recognise her, for she said in a quick, low voice, 
the voice of one who lives in terror of being overheard : 

" That's a pretty dress of yours, Van Hout's daughter. 
Oh, yes, I know you ; your father used to play with mo 
when I was a child, and once he kissed me on the ice at 
just such a fete as this. Think of it ! Kissed me, Martha 
the Mare," and she laughed hoarsely, then went on : " Yes, 
well-warmed and well-fed, and, without doubt, waiting for 
a gallant to kiss you " ; here she turned and waved her 
hand towards the people " all well- warmed and well-fed, 
and all with lovers and husbands and children to kiss. But 
I tell you, Van Hout's daughter, as I have dared to creep 
from my hiding hole in the great lake to tell all of them 
who will listen, that unless they cast out the cursed Span- 
iard, a day shall come when the folk of Leyden must per- 
ish by thousands of hunger behind those walls. Yes, yes, 
unless they cast out the cursed Spaniard and his Inquisi- 
tion. Oh, I know him, I know him, for did they not make 
me carry my own husband to the stake upon my back ? 
And have you heard why, Van Ilout's daughter ? Because 
what I had suffered in their torture-dens had made my 
face yes, mine that once was so beautiful like the face 
of a horse, and they said that ' a horse ought to be ridden.' " 

Now, while this poor excited creature, one of a whole 
class of such people who in those sad days might be found 
wandering about the Netherlands crazy with their griefs 
and sufferings, and living only for revenge, poured out 



THE WOLF AND THE BADGER 7 

these broken sentences, Lysbeth, terrified, shrank back 
before her. As she shrank the other followed, till pres- 
ently Lysbeth saw her expression of rage and hate change 
to one of terror. In another instant, muttering something 
about a request for alms which she did not wait to receive, 
the woman had wheeled round and fled away as fast as her 
skates would carry her which was very fast indeed. 

Turning about to find what had frightened her, Lysbeth 
saw standing on the bank of the mere, so close that she 
must have overheard every word, but behind the screen of 
a leafless bush, a tall, forbidding-looking woman, who held 
in her hand some broiclered caps which apparently she was 
offering for sale. These caps she began slowly to fold up 
and place one by one* in a hide satchel that was hung about 
her shoulders. All this while she was watching Lysbeth 
with her keen black eyes, except when from time to time 
she took them off her to follow the flight of that person 
who had called herself the Mare. 

"You keep ill company, lady," said the cap-seller in a 
harsh voice. 

"It was none of my seeking," answered Lysbeth, aston- 
ished into making a reply. 

" So much the better for you, lady, although she seemed 
to know you and to know also that you would listen to her 
song. Unless my eyes deceived me, which is not often, 
that woman is an evil-doer and a worker of magic like her 
dead husband Van Muyden ; a heretic, a blasphemer of 
the Holy Church, a traitor to our Lord the Emperor, and 
one," she added with a snarl, " with a price upon her head 
that before night will, I hope, be in Black Meg's pocket." 
Then, walking with long firm steps towards a fat man who 
seemed to be waiting for her, the tall, black-eyed pedlar 
passed with him into the throng, where Lysbeth lost sight 
of them. 

Lysbeth watched them go, and shivered. To her knowl- 



8 LYSBETH 

edge she had never seen this woman before, but she knew 
enough of the times they lived in to be sure that she was 
a spy of the priests. Already there were such creatures 
moving about in every gathering, yes, and in many a pri- 
vate place, who were paid to obtain evidence against sus- 
pected heretics. Whether they won it by fair means or by 
foul mattered not, provided they could find something, and 
it need be little indeed, to justify the Inquisition in get- 
ting to its work. 

As for the other woman, the Mare, doubtless she was one 
of those wicked outcasts, accursed by God and man, who 
were called heretics ; people who said dreadful things 
about the Pope and the Church and God's priests, having 
been misled and stirred up thereto by a certain fiend in 
human form named Luther. Lysbeth shuddered at the 
thought and crossed herself, for in those days she was an 
excellent Catholic. Yet the wanderer said that she had 
known her father, so that she must be as well born as her- 
self and then that dreadful story no, she could not bear 
to think of it. But of course heretics deserved all these 
things ; of that there could be no doubt whatever, for had 
not her father confessor told her that thus alone might their 
souls be saved from the grasp of the Evil One ? 

The thought was comforting, still Lysbeth felt upset, 
and not a little rejoiced when she saw Dirk van Goorl 
skating towards her accompanied by another young man, 
also a cousin of her own on her mother's side who was 
destined in days to come to earn himself an immortal 
renown young Pieter van de Werff. The two took off 
their bonnets to her, Dirk van Goorl revealing in the act a 
head of fair hair beneath which his steady blue eyes shone 
in a rather thick-set, self-contained face. Lysbeth's temper, 
always somewhat quick, was ruffled, and she showed it iu 
her manner. 

" I thought, cousins, that we were to meet at three, and 



THE WOLF AND TSE BADGER 9 

the kirk clock yonder has just chimed half-past," she said, 
addressing them both, but looking not too sweetly at 
Dirk van Goorl. 

"That's right, cousin," answered Pieter, a pleasant- 
faced and alert young man, " look at him, scold him, for 
he is to blame. Ever since a quarter past two have I I 
who must drive a sledge in the great race and am backed 
to win been waiting outside that factory in the snow, but, 
upon my honour, he did not appear until seven minutes 
since. Yes, we have done the whole distance in seven min- 
utes, and I call that very good skating." 

"I thought as much," said Lysbeth. "Dirk can only 
keep an appointment with a church bell or a stadhuis 
chandelier." 

" It was not my fault," broke in Dirk in his slow voice ; 
" I have my business to attend. I promised to wait until 
the metal had cooled sufficiently, and hot bronze takes no 
account of ice-parties and sledge races." 

" So I suppose that you stopped to blow on it, cousin. 
Well, the result is that, being quite unescorted, I have been 
obliged to listen to things which I did not wish to hear." 

"What do you mean? " asked Dirk, taking fire at once. 

Then she told them something of what the woman who 
called herself the Mare had said to her, adding, " Doubtless 
the poor creature is a heretic and deserves all that has hap- 
pened to her. But it is dreadfully sad, and I came here 
to enjoy myself, not to be sad." 

Between the two young men there passed a glance which 
was full of meaning. But it was Dirk who spoke. The 
other, more cautious, remained silent. 

"Why do you say that, Cousin Lysbeth?" he asked in 
a new voice, a voice thick and eager. " Why do you say 
that she deserves all that can happen to her ? I have heard 
of this poor creature who is called Mother Martha, or the 
Mare, although I have never seen her myself. She was 



10 LYSBETH 

noble-born, much better born than any of us three, and 
very fair once they called her the Lily of Brussels when 
she was the Vrouw van Muyden, and she has suffered 
dreadfully, for one reason only, because she and hers did 
not worship God as you worship Him." 

"As we worship Him," broke iu Van de "Werff with a 
cough. 

"No," answered Dirk sullenly, "as our Cousin Lys- 
beth van Hout worships Him. For that reason only they 
killed her husband and her little son, and drove her mad, 
so that she lives among the reeds of the Haarlemer Mere 
like a beast in its den ; yes, they, the Spaniards and their 
Spanish priests, as I daresay that they will kill us also." 

" Don't you think that it is getting rather cold standing 
here?" interrupted Pieter van de Werff before she could 
answer. " Look, the sledge races are just beginning. 
Come, cousin, give me your hand," and, taking Lysbeth 
by the arm, he skated off into the throng, followed at a 
distance by Dirk and the serving-maid, Greta. 

"Cousin," he whispered as he went, "this is not my 
place, it is Dirk's place, but I pray you as you love him I 
beg your pardon as you esteem a worthy relative do not 
enter into a religious argument with him here in public, 
where even the ice and sky are two great ears. It is not 
safe, little cousin, I swear to you that it is not safe." 

In the centre of the mere the great event of the day, the 
sledge races, were now in progress. As the competitors 
were many these must be run in heats, the winners of each 
heat standing on one side to compete in the final contest. 
Now these victors had a pretty prerogative not unlike that 
accorded to certain dancers in the cotillion of modern days. 
Each driver of a sledge was bound to carry a passenger in 
the little car in front of him, his own place being on the 
seat behind, whence he directed the horse by means of 
reins supported upon a guide-rod so fashioned that it 



THE WOLF AND TEE BADGER 11 

lifted them above the head of the traveller in the car. This 
passenger he could select from among the number of ladies 
who were present at the games ; unless, indeed, the gentle- 
man in charge of her chose to deny him in set form ; 
namely, by stepping forward and saying in the appointed 
phrase, " No, for this happy hour she is mine." 

Among the winners of these heats was a certain Spanish 
officer, the Count Don Juan de Montalvo, who, as it 
chanced, in the absence on leave of his captain, was at that 
date the commander of the garrison at Leyden. He was a 
man still young, only about thirty indeed, reported to be 
of noble birth, and handsome in the usual Castilian fash- 
ion. That is to say, he was tall, of a graceful figure, dark- 
eyed, strong-featured, with a somewhat humorous expres- 
sion, and of very good if exaggerated address. As he had 
but recently come to Leyden, very little was known there 
of this attractive cavalier beyond that he was well spoken 
of by the priests and, according to report, a favourite with 
the Emperor. Also the ladies admired him much. 

For the rest everything about him was handsome like his 
person, as might be expected in the case of a man reputed 
to be as rich as he was noble. Thus his sledge was shaped 
and coloured to resemble a great black wolf rearing itself up 
to charge. The wooden head was covered in wolf skin and 
adorned by eyes of yellow glass and great fangs of ivory. 
Round the neck also ran a gilded collar hung with a silver 
shield, whereon were painted the arms of its owner, a 
knight striking the chains from off a captive Christian 
saint, and the motto of the Montalvos, " Trust to God and 
me." His black horse, too, of the best breed, imported 
from Spain, glittered in harness decorated with gilding, 
and bore a splendid plume of dyed feathers rising from the 
head-band. 

Lysbeth happened to be standing near to the spot where 
this gallant had halted after his first victory. She was in 



12 LYSBETH 

the company of Dirk van Goorl alone for as he was the 
driver of one of the competing sledges, her other cousin, 
Pieter van de Werff, had now been summoned away. 
Having nothing else to do at the moment, she approached 
and not unnaturally admired this brilliant equipage, 
although in truth it was the sledge and the horse rather 
than their driver which attracted her attention. As for 
the Count himself she knew him slightly, having been 
introduced to and danced a measure with him at a festival 
given by a grandee of the town. On that occasion he was 
courteous to her in the Spanish fashion, rather too cour- 
teous, she thought, but as this was the manner of Castilian 
dons when dealing with burgher maidens she paid no more 
attention to the matter. 

The Captain Montalvo saw Lysbeth among the throng 
and recognised her, for he lifted his plumed hat and 
bowed to her with just that touch of condescension which 
in those days a Spaniard showed when greeting one whom 
he considered his inferior. In the sixteenth century it 
was understood that all the world were the inferiors to those 
whom God had granted to be born in Spain, the English 
who rated themselves at a valuation of their own and 
were careful to announce the fact alone excepted. 

An hour or so later, after the last heat had been run, a 
steward of the ceremonies called aloud to the remaining 
competitors to select their passengers and prepare for the 
final contest. Accordingly each Jehu, leaving his horse in 
charge of an attendant, stepped up to some young lady who 
evidently was waiting for him, and led her by the hand to 
his sledge. While Lysbeth was watching this ceremony 
with amusement for these selections were always under- 
stood to show a strong preference on behalf of the chooser 
for the chosen she was astonished to hear a well-trained 
voice addressing her, and on looking up to see Don Juan 
de Montalvo bowing almost to the ice. 



TEE WOLF AND THE BADGER 13 

"Sefiora," he said in Castilian, a tongue which Lys- 
beth understood well enough, although she only spoke it 
when obliged, "unless my ears deceived me, I heard you 
admiring my horse and sledge. Now, with the permission 
of your cavalier," and he bowed courteously to Dirk, "I 
name you as my passenger for the great race, knowing that 
you will bring me fortune. Have I your leave, Sefior ? " 

Now if there was a people on earth whom Dirk van 
Goorl hated, the Spaniards were that people, and if there 
lived a cavalier whom he preferred should not take his 
cousin Lysbeth for a lonely drive, that cavalier was the 
Count Juan de Montalvo. But as a young man, Dirk was 
singularly diffident and so easily confused that on the spur 
of the moment it was quite possible for a person of address 
to make him say what he did not mean. Thus, on the 
present occasion, when he saw this courtly Spaniard bowing 
low to him, a humble Dutch tradesman, he was over- 
whelmed, and mumbled in reply, " Certainly, certainly." 

If a glance could have withered him, without doubt 
Dirk would immediately have shrivelled to nothing. To 
say that Lysbeth was angry is too little, for in truth she 
was absolutely furious. She did not like this Spaniard, 
and hated the idea of a long interview with him alone. 
Moreover, she knew that among her fellow townspeople 
there was a great desire that the Count should not win this 
race, which in its own fashion was the event of the year, 
whereas, if she appeared as his companion it would be sup- 
posed that she was anxious for his success. Lastly and 
this was the chiefest sore although in theory the competi- 
tors had a right to ask any one to whom they took a fancy 
to travel in their sledges, in practice they only sought 
the company of young women with whom they were on 
the best of terms, and who were already warned of their 
intention. 

In an instant these thoughts flashed through her mind, 



14 LYSBETH 

but all she did was to murmur something about the Heer 
van Goorl 

" Has already given his consent, like an unselfish gen- 
tleman," broke in Captain Juan tendering her his hand. 

Now, without absolutely making a scene, which then, 
as to-day, ladies considered an ill-bred thing to do, there 
was no escape, since half Leyden gathered at these " sledge 
choosings," and many eyes were on her and the Count. 
Therefore, because she must, Lysbeth took the proffered 
hand, and was led to the sledge, catching, as she passed to 
it through the throng, more than one sour look from the 
men and more than one exclamation of surprise, real or 
affected, on the lips of the ladies of her acquaintance. 
These manifestations, however, put her upon her mettle. 
So determining that at least she would not look sullen or 
ridiculous, she began to enter into the spirit of the adven- 
ture, and smiled graciously while the Captain Montalvo 
wrapped a magnificent apron of wolf skins about her 
knees. 

When all was ready her charioteer took the reins and 
settled himself upon the little seat behind the sleigh, which 
was then led into line by a soldier servant. 

"Where is the course, Sefior?" Lysbeth asked, hoping 
that it would be a short one. 

But in this she was to be disappointed, for he answered : 

" Up to the little Quarkel Mere, round the island in the 
middle of it, and back to this spot, something over a 
league in all. Now, Sefiora, speak to me no more at pres- 
ent, but hold fast and have no fear, for at least I drive 
well, and my horse is sure-footed and roughed for ice. 
This is a race that I would give a hundred gold pieces to 
win, since your countrymen, who contend against me, have 
sworn that I shall lose it, and I tell you at once, Sefiora, 
that grey horse will press me hard." 

Following the direction of his glance, Lysbeth's eye lit 



THE WOLF AND THE BADGER 15 

upon the next sledge. It was small, fashioned and painted 
to resemble a grey badger, that silent, stubborn, and, if 
molested, savage brute, -which will not loose its grip until 
the head is hacked from off its body. The horse, which 
matched it well in colour, was of Flemish breed ; rather a 
raw-boned animal, with strong quarters and an ugly head, 
but renowned in Leyden for its courage and staying power. 
What interested Lysbeth most, however, was to discover 
that the charioteer was none other than Pieter van de 
Werff, though now when she thought of it, she remem- 
bered he had told her that his sledge was named the Badger. 
In his choice of passenger she noted, too, not without a 
smile, that he showed his cautious character, disdainful of 
any immediate glory, so long as the end in view could be 
attained. For there in the sleigh sat no fine young lady, 
decked out in brave attire, who might be supposed to look 
at him with tender eyes, but a little fair-haired mate aged 
nine, who was in fact his sister. As he explained after- 
wards, the rules provided that a lady passenger must be 
carried, but said nothing of her age and weight. 

Now the competitors, eight of them, were in a line, and 
coming forward, the master of the course, in a voice that 
every one might hear, called out the conditions of the race 
and the prize for which it was to be run, a splendid glass 
goblet engraved with the cross-keys, the Arms of Leyden. 
This done, after asking if all were ready, he dropped a 
little flag, whereon the horses were loosed and away they 
went. 

Before a minute had passed, forgetting all her doubts 
and annoyances, Lysbeth was lost in the glorious excite- 
ment of the moment. Like birds in the heavens, cleaving 
the keen, crisp air, they sped forward over the smooth ice. 
The gay throng vanished, the dead reeds and stark bushes 
seemed to fly away from them. The only sounds in their 
ears were the rushing of the wind, the swish of the iron. 



1C LYSBETH 

runners, and the hollow tapping of the hooves of their gal- 
loping horses. Certain sledges drew ahead in the first 
burst, but the Wolf and the Badger were not among these. 
The Count de Montalvo was holding in his black stallion, 
and as yet the grey Flemish gelding looped along with a 
constrained and awkward stride. When, passing from the 
little mere, they entered the straight of the canal, these 
two were respectively fourth and fifth. Up the course 
they sped, through a deserted snow-clad country, past the 
church of the village of Alkemaade. Now, half a mile or 
more away appeared the Quarkel Mere, and in the centre 
of it the island which they must turn. They reached it, 
they were round it, and when their faces were once more 
set homewards, Lysbeth noted that the Wolf and the 
Badger were third and fourth in the race, some one having 
dropped behind. Half a mile more and they were second 
and third ; another half mile and they were first and second 
with perhaps a mile to go. Then the fight began. 

Yard by yard the speed increased, and yard by yard the 
black stallion drew ahead. Now in front of them lay a 
furlong or more of bad ice encumbered with lumps of 
frozen snow that had not been cleared away, which caused 
the sleigh to shake and jump as it struck. Lysbeth looked 
round. 

" The Badger is coming up," she said. 

Montalvo heard, and for the first time laid his whip upon 
the haunches of his horse, which answered gallantly. But 
still the Badger came up. The grey was the stronger beast, 
and had begun to put out his strength. Presently his ugly 
head was behind them, for Lysbeth felt the breath from 
his nostrils blowing on her, and saw their steam. Then it 
was past, for the steam blew back into her face ; yes, and 
she could see the eager eyes of the child in the grey sledge. 
Now they were neck and neck, and the rough ice was done 
with. Six hundred yards away, not more, lay the goal, 



THE WOLF AND THE BADGER 17 

and all about them, outside the line of the course, were 
swift skaters travelling so fast that their heads were bent 
forward and down to within three feet of the ice. 

Van de Werff called to his horse, and the grey began to 
gain. Montalvo lashed the stallion, and once more they 
passed him. But the black was failing, and he saw it, 
for Lysbeth heard him curse in Spanish. Then of a sud- 
den, after a cunning glance at his adversary, the Count 
pulled upon the right rein, and a shrill voice rose upon the 
air, the voice of the little girl in the other sledge. 

" Take care, brother," it cried, "he will overthrow us." 

True enough, in another moment the black would have 
struck the grey sideways. Lysbeth saw Van de Werff rise 
from his seat and throw his weight backward, dragging the 
grey on to his haunches. By an inch not more the 
Wolf sleigh missed the gelding. Indeed, one runner of it 
struck his hoof, and the high woodwork of the side brushed 
and cut his nostril. 

"A foul, a foul ! " yelled the skaters, and it was over. 
Once more they were speeding forward, but now the black 
had a lead of at least ten yards, for the grey must find his 
stride again. They were in the straight ; the course was 
lined with hundreds of witnesses, and from the throats of 
every one of them arose a great cry, or rather two cries. 

" The Spaniard, the Spaniard wins ! " said the first cry 
that was answered by another and a deeper roar. 

" No, Hollander, the Hollander ! The Hollander comes 
up!" 

Then in the midst of that fierce excitement bred of 
the excitement perhaps some curious spell fell upon the 
mind of Lysbeth. The race, its details, its objects, its sur- 
roundings faded away ; these physical things were gone, 
and in place of them was present a dream, a spiritual inter- 
pretation such as the omens and influences of the times she 
lived in might well inspire. "What did she seem to see ? 
2 



18 LYSBETH 

She saw the Spaniard and the Hollander striving for vic- 
tory, but not a victory of horses. She saw the black Span- 
ish Wolf, at first triumphant, outmatch the Netherland 
Badger. Still, the Badger, the dogged Dutch badger, 
held on. 

"Who would win?" The fierce beast or the patient 
beast? Who would be master in this fight? There was 
death in it. Look, the whole snow was red, the roofs of 
Leyden were red, and red the heavens ; in the deep hues 
of the sunset they seemed bathed in blood, while about 
her the shouts of the backers and factions transformed 
themselves into a fierce cry as of battling peoples. All 
voices mingled in that cry voices of hope, of agony, 
and of despair ; but she could not interpret them. Some- 
thing told her that the interpretation and the issue were 
in the mind of God alone. 

Perhaps she swooned, perhaps she slept and dreamed this 
dream ; perhaps the sharp rushing air overcame her. At the 
least Lysbeth's eyes closed and her mind gave way. When 
they opened and it returned again their sledge was rushing 
past the winning post. But in front of it travelled another 
sledge, drawn by a gaunt grey horse, which galloped so hard 
that its belly seemed to lie upon the ice, a horse driven 
by a young man whose face was set like steel and whose 
lips were as the lips of a trap. 

"Could that be the face of her cousin Pieter van de 
Werff, and, if so, what passion had stamped that strange 
seal thereon ? " She turned herself in her seat and looked 
at him who drove her. 

Was this a man, or was it a spirit escaped from doom ? 
Blessed Mother of Christ ! what a countenance ! The 
eyeballs starting and upturned, nothing but the white of 
them to be seen ; the lips curled, and, between, two lines of 
shining fangs ; the lifted points of the mustachios touching 
the high cheekbones. No no, it was neither a spirit nor 



THE WOLF AND THE BADGER 19 

a man, she knew now what it was ; it was the very type 
and incarnation of the Spanish Wolf. 

Once more she seemed to faint, while in her ears there 
rang the cry " The Hollander ! Outstayed ! Outstayed ! 
Conquered is the accursed Spaniard ! " 

Then Lysbeth knew that it was over, and again the 
faintness overpowered her. 



CHAPTER II 

SHE WHO BUYS PATS 

WHEH Lysbeth's mind recovered from its confusion she 
found herself still in the sledge and beyond the borders of 
the crowd that was engaged in rapturously congratulating the 
winner. Drawn up alongside of the Wolf was another sleigh 
of plain make, and harnessed to it a heavy Flemish horse. 
This vehicle was driven by a Spanish soldier, with whom sat 
a second soldier apparently of the rank of sergeant. There 
was no one else near ; already people in the Netherlands 
had learnt to keep their distance from Spanish soldiers. 

"If your Excellency would come now," the sergeant 
was saying, " this little matter can be settled without any 
further trouble." 

" Where is she ? " asked Montalvo. 

" Not more than a mile or so away, near the place called 
Steene Veld." 

" Tie her up in the snow to wait till to-morrow morning. 
My horse is tired and it may save us trouble," he began, 
then added, after glancing first back at the crowd behind 
him and next at Lysbeth, " no, I will come." 

Perhaps the Count did not wish to listen to condolences 
on his defeat, or perhaps he desired to prolong the tete-a- 
tete with his fair passenger. At any rate, without further 
hesitation, he struck his weary horse with the whip, causing 
it to amble forward somewhat stiffly but at a good pace. 

"Where are we going, Seflor?" asked Lysbeth anx- 
iously. " The race is over and I must seek my friends." 

"Your friends are engaged in congratulating the victor, 
lady," he answered in his suave and courteous voice, "and 



SHE WHO BUYS-PAYS 21 

I cannot leave you alone upon the ice. Do not trouble ; 
this is only a little matter of business which will scarcely 
take a quarter of an hour," and once more he struck the 
horse urging it to a better speed. 

Lysbeth thought of remonstrating, she thought even of 
springing from the sledge, but in the end she did neither. 
To seem to continue the drive with her cavalier would, she 
determined, look more natural and less absurd than to 
attempt a violent escape from him. She was certain that 
he would not put her down merely at her request ; some- 
thing in his manner told her so, and though she had no 
longing for his company it was better than being made 
ridiculous before half the inhabitants of Leyden. More- 
over, the position was no fault of hers ; it was the fault of 
Dirk van Goorl, who should have been present to take her 
from the sledge. 

As they drove along the frozen moat Montalvo leant for- 
ward and began to chat about the race, expressing regret 
at having lost it, but using no angry or bitter words. Could 
this be the man, wondered Lysbeth as she listened, whom 
she had seen deliberately attempt to overthrow his adver- 
sary in a foul heedless of dishonour or of who might be 
killed by the shock ? Could this be the man whose face 
just now had looked like the face of a devil ? Had these 
things happened, indeed, or was it not possible that her 
fancy, confused with the excitement and the speed at 
which they were travelling, had deceived her ? Certainly it 
seemed to have been overcome at last, for she could not 
remember the actual finish of the race, or how they got 
clear of the shouting crowd. 

While she was still wondering thus, replying from time 
to time to Montalvo in monosyllables, the sledge in front 
of them turned the corner of one of the eastern bastions 
and came to a halt. The place where it stopped was deso- 
late and lonely, for the town being in a state of peace no 



22 LYSBETH 

guard was mounted on the wall, nor could any living soul 
be found upon the snowy waste that lay beyond the moat. 
At first, indeed, Lysbeth was able to see nobody at all, for 
by now the sun had gone down and her eyes were not accus- 
tomed to the increasing light of the moon. Presently, 
however, she caught sight of a knot of people standing on 
the ice in a recess or little bay of the moat, and half hidden 
by a fringe of dead reeds. 

Montalvo saw also, and halted his horse within three 
paces of them. The people were five in number, three 
Spanish soldiers and two women. Lysbeth looked, and 
with difficulty stifled a cry of surprise and fear, for she 
knew the women. The tall, dark person, with lowering 
eyes, was none other than the cap-seller and Spanish spy, 
Black Meg. And she who crouched there upon the ice, 
her arms bound behind her, her grizzled locks, torn loose 
by some rough hand, trailing on the snow surely it was 
the woman who called herself the Mare, and who that very 
afternoon spoke to her, saying that she had known her 
father, and cursing the Spaniards and their Inquisition. 
What were they doing here? Instantly an answer leapt 
into her mind, for she remembered Black Meg's words, 
that there was a price upon this heretic's head which 
before nightfall would be in her pocket. And why was 
there a square hole cut in the ice immediately in front of 
the captive ? Could it be no, that was too horrible. 

"Well, officer," broke in Montalvo, addressing the ser- 
geant in a quiet, wearied voice, "what is all this about? 
Set out your case." 

" Excellency," replied the man, " it is a very simple mat- 
ter. This creature here, so that woman is ready to take 
oath," and he pointed to Black Meg, "is a notorious 
heretic who has already been condemned to death by the 
Holy Office, and whose husband, a learned man who 
painted pictures and studied the stars, was burnt on a 



SHE WHO BUYS PAYS 23 

charge of witchcraft and heresy, two years ago at Brussels. 
But she managed to escape the stake, and since then has 
lived as a vagrant, hiding in the islands of the Haarlemer 
Mere, and, it is suspected, working murder and robbery on 
any of Spanish blood whom she can catch. Now she has 
been caught herself and identified, and, of course, the 
sentence being in full force against her, can be dealt with 
at once on your Excellency's command. Indeed, it would 
not have been necessary that you should be troubled about 
the thing at all had it not been that this worthy woman," 
and again he pointed to Black Meg, " who was the one who 
waylaid her, pulled her down and held her until we came, 
requires your certificate in order that she may claim the 
reward from the Treasurer of the Holy Inquisition. There- 
fore, you will be asked to certify that this is, indeed, the 
notorious heretic commonly known as Martha the Mare, 
but whose other name I forget, after which, if you will 
please to withdraw, we will see to the rest." 

" You mean that she will be taken to the prison to be 
dealt with by the Holy Office ? " queried Montalvo. 

"Not exactly, Excellency," answered the sergeant with 
a discreet smile and a cough. " The prison, I am told, is 
quite full, hut she may start for the prison and there 
seems to be a hole in the ice into which, since Satan leads 
the footsteps of such people as stray, this heretic might 
chance to fall or throw herself." 

" What is the evidence? " asked Montalvo. 

Then Black Meg stood forward, and, with the rapidity 
and unction of a spy, poured out her tale. She iden- 
tified the woman with one whom she had known who was 
sentenced to death by the Inquisition and escaped, and, 
after giving other evidence, ended by repeating the con- 
versation which she had overheard between the accused 
and Lysbeth that afternoon. 

" You accompanied me in a fortunate hour, Seflora van 



24 LYSBETH 

Hout," said the captain gaily, "for now, to satisfy myself, 
as I wish to be just, and do not trust these paid hags," 
and he nodded towards Black Meg, " I must ask you upon 
your oath before God whether or no you confirm that 
woman's tale, and whether or no this very ugly person 
named the Mare called down curses upon my people and 
the Holy Office? Answer, and quickly, if you please, 
Seflora, for it grows cold here and my horse is beginning 
to shiver." 

Then, for the first time, the Mare raised her head, drag- 
ging at her hair, which had become frozen to the ice, until 
she tore it free. 

" Lysbeth van Hout," she cried in shrill, piercing tones, 
"would you, to please your Spanish lover, bring your 
father's playmate to her death ? The Spanish horse is cold 
and cannot stay, but the poor Netherland Mare ah ! she 
may be thrust beneath the blue ice and bide there till her 
bones rot at the bottom of the moat. You have sought the 
Spaniards, you, whose blood should have warned you 
against them, and I tell you that it shall cost you dear ; 
but if you say this word they seek, then it shall cost you 
everything, not only the body, but the spirit also. Woe 
to you, Lysbeth van Hout, if you cut me off before my 
work is done. I fear not death, nay I welcome it, but I 
tell you I have work to do before I die." 

Now, in an agony of mind, Lysbeth turned and looked 
at Montalvo. 

The Count was a man of keen perceptions, and understood 
it all. Leaning forward, his arm resting on the back of 
the sledge, as though to contemplate the prisoner, he whis- 
pered into Lysbeth's ear, so low that no one else could hear 
his words. 

"Seflora," he said, "I have no wishes in this mat- 
ter. I do not desire to drown that poor mad woman, 
but if you confirm the spy's story, drown she must. At 



SHE WHO BUYS PAYS 25 

present I am not satisfied, so everything turns upon your 
evidence. I do not know what passed between you this 
afternoon, and personally I do not care, only, if you should 
chance to have no clear recollection of the matter alleged, 
I must make one or two little stipulations very little ones. 
Let me see, they are that you will spend the rest of 
this evening's fte in my company. Further, that when- 
ever I choose to call upon you, your door will be open to 
me, though I must remind you that, on three occasions al- 
ready, when I have wished to pay my respects, it has been 
shut." 

Lysbeth heard and understood. If she would save this 
woman's life she must expose herself to the attentions of 
the Spaniard, which she desired least of anything in the 
world. More, speaking upon her oath in the presence of 
God, she must utter a dreadful lie, she who as yet had 
never lied. For thirty seconds or more she thought, star- 
ing round her with anguished eyes, while the scene they 
fell on sank into her soul in such fashion that never till 
her death's day did she forget its aspect. 

The Mare spoke no more, she only knelt searching her 
face with a stern and wondering glance. A little to the 
right stood Black Meg, glaring at her sullenly, for the 
blood-money was in danger. Behind the prisoner were 
two of the soldiers, one putting his hand to his face to hide 
a yawn, while the other beat his breast to warm himself. 
The third soldier, who was placed somewhat in front, 
stirred the surface of the hole with the shaft of his halbert 
to break up the thin film of ice which was forming over it, 
while Montalvo himself, still leaning sideways and forwards, 
watched her eyes with an amused and cynical expression. 
And over all, over the desolate snows and gabled roofs of 
the town behind ; over the smooth blue ice, the martyr 
and the murderers ; over the gay sledge and the fur- 
wrapped girl who sat within it, fell the calm light of the 



26 LYSBETH 

moon through a silence broken only by the beating of her 
heart, and now and again by the sigh of a frost-wind breath- 
ing among the rushes. 

"Well, Seflora," asked Montalvo, "if you have suffi- 
ciently reflected shall I administer the oath in the form 
provided ? " 

"Administer it," she said hoarsely. 

So, descending from the sledge, he stood in front of 
Lysbeth, and, lifting his cap, repeated the oath to her, an 
oath strong enough to blast her soul if she swore to it 
with false intent. 

" In the name of God the Son and of His Blessed Mother, 
you swear?" he asked. 

"I swear," she answered. 

" Good, Sefiora. Now listen to me. Did you meet 
that woman this afternoon ? " 

" Yes, I met her on the ice." 

"And did she in your hearing utter curses upon the 
Government and the Holy Church, and call upon you to 
assist in driving the Spaniards from the land, as this spy, 
whom I believe is called Black Meg, has borne witness? " 

"No, "said Lysbeth. 

"I am afraid that is not quite enough, Seflora ; I may 
have misquoted the exact words. Did the woman say any- 
thing of the sort ? " 

For one second Lysbeth hesitated. Then she caught 
sight of the victim's watching, speculative eyes, and remem- 
bered that this crazed and broken creature once had been 
a child whom her father kissed and played with, and that 
the crime of which she was accused was that she had es- 
caped from death at the stake. 

" The water is cold to die in! " the Mare said, in a medi- 
tative voice, as though she were thinking aloud. 

" Then why did you run away from the warm fire, 
heretic witch ? " jeered Black Meg. 



SHE WHO BUYS PAYS 27 

Now Lysbeth hesitated no longer, but again answered in 
a monosyllable, "No." 

" Then what did she do or say, Sefiora ? " 

" She said she had known my father who used to play with 
her when she was a child, and begged for alms, that is all. 
Then that woman came up, and she ran away, whereon the 
woman said there was a price upon her head, and that she 
meant to have the money." 

" It is a lie," screamed Black Meg in fierce, strident notes. 

"If that person will not be silent, silence her," said 
Montalvo, addressing the sergeant. "I am satisfied," he 
went on, " that there is no evidence at all against the pris- 
oner except the story of a spy, who says she believes her to 
be a vagrant heretic of bad character who escaped from the 
stake several years ago in the neighbourhood of Brussels, 
whither it is scarcely worth while to send to inquire about 
the matter. So that charge may drop. There remains 
the question as to whether or no the prisoner uttered cer- 
tain words this afternoon, which, if she did utter them, are 
undoubtedly worthy of the death that, under my authority 
as acting commandant of this town, I have power to inflict. 
This question I foresaw, and that is why I asked the Sefiora, 
to whom the woman is alleged to have spoken the words, 
to accompany me here to give evidence. She has done so, 
and her evidence on oath as against the statement of a spy 
woman not on oath, is that no such words were spoken. 
This being so, as the Seflora is a good Catholic whom I 
have no reason to disbelieve, I order the release of the pris- 
oner, whom for my part I take for nothing more than a 
crazy and harmless wanderer." 

" At least you will detain her till I can prove that she is 
the heretic who escaped from the stake near Brussels," 
shouted Black Meg. 

" I will do nothing of the sort ; the prison here is over- 
full already. Untie her arms and let her go." 



28 LTSBETH 

The soldiers obeyed, wondering somewhat, and the 
Mare scrambled to her feet. For a moment she stood 
looking at her deliverer. Then crying, " We shall meet 
again, Lysbeth van Hout 1 " suddenly she turned and sped 
up a dyke at extraordinary speed. In a few seconds there 
was nothing to be seen of her but a black spot upon the 
white landscape, and presently she had vanished altogether. 

"Gallop as you will, Mare, I shall catch you yet," screamed 
Black Meg after her. " And you too, my pretty little 
liar, who have cheated me out of a dozen florins. Wait 
till you are up before the Inquisition as a heretic for 
that's where you'll end. No fine Spanish lover will save 
you then. So you have gone to the Spanish, have you, and 
thrown over your fat-faced burgher ; well, you will have 
enough of Spaniards before you have done with them, I 
can tell you." 

Twice had Montalvo tried to stop this flood of furious 
eloquence, which had become personal and might prove 
prejudicial to his interests, but without avail. Now he 
adopted other measures. 

" Seize her," he shouted to two of the soldiers; " that's 
it ; now hold her under water in that hole till I tell you to 
let her up again." 

They obeyed, but it took all three of them to carry out 
the order, for Black Meg fought and bit like a wild cat, 
until at last she was thrust into the icy moat head down- 
wards. When at length she was released, soaked and shiv- 
ering, she crept off silently enough, but the look of fury 
which she cast at Montalvo and Lysbeth drew from the 
captain a remark that perhaps it would have been as well 
to have kept her under water two minutes longer. 

"Now, sergeant," he added, in a genial voice, "it is a 
cold night, and this has been a troublesome business for a 
feast-day, so here's something for you and your watch to 
warm yourselves with when you go off duty," and he 



SHE WHO BUYS PAYS 29 

handed him what in those days was a very handsome pres- 
ent. "By the way," he said, as the men saluted him 
gratefully, "perhaps you will do me a favour. It is only 
to take this black horse of mine to his stable and harness 
that grey trooper nag to the sledge instead, as I wish to go 
the round of the moat, and my beast is tired." 

Again the men saluted and set to work to change the 
horses, whereon Lysbeth, guessing her cavalier's purpose, 
turned as though to fly away, for her skates were still upon 
her feet. But he was watching. 

"Seflora," he said in a quiet voice, "I think that you 
gave me the promise of your company for the rest of this 
evening, and I am certain," he added with a slight bow, 
" that you are a lady whom nothing would induce to tell 
an untruth. Had I not been sure of that I should scarcely 
have accepted your evidence so readily just now." 

Lysbeth winced visibly. " I thought, Seflor, that you 
were going to return to the fete." 

"I do not remember saying so, Senora, and as a matter 
of fact I have pickets to visit. Do not be afraid, the 
drive is charming in this moonlight, and afterwards per- 
haps you will extend your hospitality so far as to ask me to 
supper at your house." 

Still she hesitated, dismay written on her face. 

" Jufvrouw Lysbeth," he said in an altered voice, "in 
my country we have a homely proverb which says, ' she who 
buys, pays.' You have bought and. the goods have been 
delivered. Do you understand ? Ah ! allow me to have 
the pleasure of arranging those furs. I knew that you 
were the soul of honour, and were but shall we say teasing 
me? Otherwise, had you really wished to go, of course 
yon would have skated away just now while you had the 
opportunity. That is why I gave it you, as naturally I 
should not desire to detain you against your will." 

Lysbeth heard and was aghast, for this man's cleverness 



30 LTSBETH 

overwhelmed her. At every step he contrived to put her 
in the wrong ; moreover she was crushed by the sense that 
he had justice on his side. She had bought and she must 
pay. Why had she bought ? Not for any advantage of her 
own, but from an impulse of human pity to save a fellow 
creature's life. And why should she have perjured herself 
so deeply in order to save that life ? She was a Catholic 
and had no sympathy with such people. Probably this 
person was an Anabaptist, one of that dreadful sect which 
practised nameless immoralities, and ran stripped through 
the streets crying that they were "the naked Truth." 
"Was it then because the creature had declared that she 
had known her father in her childhood ? To some extent 
yes, but was not there more behind ? Had she not been 
influenced by the woman's invocation about the Spaniards, 
of which the true meaning came home to her during that 
dreadful sledge race ; at the moment, indeed, when she 
saw the Satanic look upon the face of Montalvo ? It seemed 
to her that this was so, though at the time she had not 
understood it ; it seemed to her that she was not a free 
agent ; that some force pushed her forward which she could 
neither control nor understand. 

Moreover and this was the worst of it she felt that 
little good could come of her sacrifice, or that if good came, 
at least it would not be to her or hers. Now she was as a 
fish in a net, though why it was worth this brilliant Span- 
iard's while to snare her she could not understand, for she 
forgot that she was beautiful and a woman of property. 
Well, to save the blood of another she had bought, and in 
her own blood and happiness, or in that of those dear to 
her, assuredly she must pay, however cruel and unjust 
might be the price. 

Such were the thoughts that passed through Lysbeth's 
mind as the strong Flemish gelding lumbered forward, 
dragging the sledge at the eame steady pace over rough ice 



SHE WHO BUYS PAYS 31 

and smooth. And all the while Montalvo behind her was 
chatting pleasantly about this matter and that ; telling her 
of the orange groves in Spain, of the Court of the Emperor 
Charles, of adventures in the French wars, and many other 
things, to which conversation she made such answer as 
courtesy demanded and no more. What would Dirk think, 
she was wondering, and her cousin, Pieter van de Werff, 
whose good opinion she valued, and all the gossips of 
Leyden? She only prayed that they might not have 
missed her, or at least that they took it for granted that she 
had gone home. 

On this point, however, she was soon destined to be un- 
deceived, for presently, trudging over the snow-covered ice 
and carrying his useless skates in his hand, they met a 
young man whom she knew as Dirk's fellow apprentice. 
On seeing them he stopped in front of the sledge in such a 
position that the horse, a steady and a patient animal, 
pulled up of its own accord. 

"Is the Jufvrouw Lysbeth van Hout there? " he asked 
anxiously. 

" Yes," she replied, but before she could say more Mont- 
alvo broke in, inquiring what might be the matter. 

" Nothing," he answered, " except that she was lost and 
Dirk van Goorl, my friend, sent me to look for her this 
way while he took the other." 

" Indeed. Then, noble sir, perhaps you will find the 
Heer Dirk van Goorl and tell him that the Sefiora, his 
cousin, is merely enjoying an evening drive, and that if he 
comes to her house in an hour's time he will find her safe 
and sound, and with her myself, the Count Juan de Mont- 
alvo, whom she has honoured with an invitation to sup- 
per." 

Then, before the astonished messenger could answer ; 
before, indeed, Lysbeth could offer any explanation of his 
words, Montalvo lashed up the horse and left him stand- 



82 LTSBETH 

ing on the moat bewildered, his cap on* and scratching his 
head. 

After this they proceeded on a journey which seemed to 
Lysbeth almost interminable. When the circuit of the 
walls was finished, Montalvo halted at one of the shut gates, 
and, calling to the guard within, summoned them to open. 
This caused delay and investigation, for at first the sergeant 
of the guard would not believe that it was his acting com- 
mandant who spoke without. 

"Pardon, Excellency," he said when he had inspected 
him with a lantern, "but I did not think that you would 
be going the rounds with a lady in your sledge," and hold- 
ing up the light the man took a long look at Lysbeth, 
grinning visibly as he recognised her. 

" Ah, he is a gay bird, the captain, a very gay bird, and 
it's a pretty Dutch dickey he is teaching to pipe now," she 
heard him call to a comrade as he closed the heavy gates 
behind their sleigh. 

Then followed more visits to other military posts in the 
town, and with each visit a further explanation. All this 
while the Count Montalvo uttered no word beyond those of 
ordinary compliment, and ventured 011 no act of familiarity; 
his conversation and demeanour indeed remaining perfectly 
courteous and respectful. So far as it went this was satis- 
factory, but at length there came a moment when Lysbeth 
felt that she could bear the position no longer. 

"Sen or," she said briefly, "take me home; I grow 
faint." 

"With hunger doubtless," he interrupted; "'well, by 
heaven ! so do T. But, my dear lady, as you are aware, duty 
must be attended to, and, after all, you may have found 
some interest in accompanying me on a tour of the pickets 
at night. I know your people speak roughly of us Spanish 
soldiers, but I hope that after this you will be able to 
bear testimony to their discipline. Although it is a fe'te 



SHE WHO BUYS PAYS 33 

day you will be my witness that we have not found a man 
off duty or the worse for drink. Here, you/' he called to 
a soldier who stood up to salute him, "follow me to the 
house of the Jufvrouw Lysbeth van Hout, where I sup, and 
lead this sledge back to my quarters." 



CHAPTER III 

MONTALVO WINS A TRICK 

TURNING up the Bree Straat, then as now perhaps the 
finest in the town of Leyden, Montalvo halted his horse 
before a substantial house fronted with three round-headed 
gables, of which the largest that over the entrance in the 
middle was shaped into two windows with balconies. 
This was Lysbeth's house which had been left to her by her 
father, where, until such time as she should please to 
marry, she dwelt with her aunt, Clara van Ziel. The 
soldier whom he had summoned having run to the horse's 
head, Montalvo leapt from his driver's seat to assist the 
lady to alight. At the moment Lysbeth was occupied with 
wild ideas of swift escape, but even if she could make up 
her mind to try it there was an obstacle which her thought- 
ful cavalier had foreseen. 

" Jufvrouw van Hout," he said as he pulled up, "do 
you remember that you are still wearing skates? " 

It was true, though in her agitation she had forgotten 
all about them, and the fact put sudden flight out of the 
question. She could not struggle into her own house 
walking on the sides of her feet like the tame seal which 
old fisherman Hans had brought from northern seas. It 
would be too ridiculous, and the servants would certainly 
tell the story all about the town. Better for a while longer 
to put up with the company of this odious Spaniard than 
to become a laughing stock in an attempt to fly. Besides, 
even if she found herself on the other side of it, could she 
shut the door in his face ? Would her promise let her, and 
would he consent ? 



MONTALVO WINS A TRICK 35 

" Yes," she answered briefly, " I will call my ser- 
vant." 

Then for the first time the Count became complimentary 
in a dignified Spanish manner. 

"Let no base-born menial hold the foot which it is an 
honour for an hidalgo of Spain to touch. I am your ser-. 
vant," he said, and resting one knee on the snow-covered 
step he waited. 

Again there was nothing to be done, so Lysbeth must 
needs thrust out her foot from which very delicately and 
carefully he unstrapped the skate. 

"What Jack can bear Jill must put up with," mut- 
tered Lysbeth to herself as she advanced the other foot. 
Just at that moment, however, the door behind them 
began to open. 

" She who buys," murmured Mental vo as he commenced 
on the second set of straps. Then the door swung wide, 
and the voice of Dirk van Goorl was heard saying in a tone 
of relief : 

" Yes, sure enough it is she, Tante Clara, and some one 
is taking off her boots." 

"Skates, Sefior, skates," interrupted Montalvo, glanc- 
ing backward over his shoulder, then added in a whisper 
as he bent once more to his task, " ahem -pays. You 
will introduce me, is it not so ? I think it will be less 
awkward for you." 

So, as flight was impossible, for he held her by the foot, 
and an instinct told her that, especially to the man she 
loved, the only thing to do was to make light of the affair, 
Lysbeth said 

"Dirk, Cousin Dirk, I think you know this is the 
Honourable Captain the Count Juan de Montalvo." 

"Ah ! it is the Senor van Goorl," said Montalvo, pulling 
off the skate and rising from his knee, which, from his excess 
of courtesy, was now wet through. " Seflor, allow me to 



86 LYSBETH 

return to you, safe and sound, the fair lady of whom I 
have robbed you for a while." 

" For a while, captain," blurted Dirk ; " why, from tirst 
to last, she has been gone nearly four hours, and a fine 
state we have been in about her." 

" That will all be explained presently, Sefior at supper, 
to which the Jufvrouw has been so courteous as to ask 
me," then, aside and below his breath, again the ominous 
word of reminder "pays." " Most happily, your cousin's 
presence was the means of saving a fellow-creature's life. 
But, as I have said, the tale is long. Sefiora permit," 
and in another second Lysbeth found herself walking down 
her own hall upon the arm of the Spaniard, while Dirk, 
her aunt, and some guests followed obediently behind. 

Now Montalvo knew that his difficulties were over for 
that evening at any rate, since he had crossed the threshold 
and was a guest. 

Half unconsciously Lysbeth guided him to the balconied 
sit-Jcamer on the first floor, which in our day would answer 
to the drawing-room. Here several other of her friends 
were gathered, for it had been arranged that the ice-fes- 
tival should end with a supper as rich as the house could 
give. To these, too, she must introduce her cavalier, who 
bowed courteously to each in turn. Then she escaped, 
but, as she passed him, distinctly, she could swear, did she 
see his lips shape themselves to the hateful word 
"pays." 

When she reached her chamber, so great was Lysbeth's 
wrath and indignation that almost she choked with it, till 
again reason came to her aid, and with reason a desire to 
carry the thing off as well as might be. So she told her 
maid Greta to robe her in her best garment, and to hang 
about her neck the famous collar of pearls which her 
father had brought from the East, that was the talk and 
envy of half the women in Leyden. On her head, too, she 



MONTALVO WINS A TRICK 37 

placed the cap of lovely lace which had been a wedding 
gift given to her mother by her grandmother, the old 
dame who wove it. Then she added such golden orna- 
ments as it was customary for women of her class to wear, 
and descended to the gathering room. 

Meanwhile Montalvo had not been idle. Taking Dirk 
aside, and pleading his travel-worn condition, he had 
prayed him to lead him to some room where he might 
order his dress and person. Dirk complied, though with 
an ill grace, but so pleasant did Montalvo make himself 
during those few minutes, that before he ushered him 
back to the company in some way Dirk found himself con- 
vinced that this particular Spaniard was not, as the saying 
went, "as black as his mustachios." He felt almost sure 
too, although he had not yet found time to tell him the 
details of it, that there was some excellent reason to account 
for his having carried off the adorable Lysbeth during an 
entire afternoon and evening. 

It is true that there still remained the strange circum- 
stance of the attempted foul of his cousin Van de Werff's 
sledge in the great race, but, after all, why should there not 
be some explanation of this also ? It had happened, if it 
did happen, at quite a distance from the winning post, 
when there were few people to see what passed. Indeed, 
now that he came to think of it, the only real evidence on 
the matter was that of his cousin, the little girl passenger, 
since Van de Werff himself had brought no actual accusa- 
tion against his opponent. 

Shortly after they returned to the company it was an- 
nounced that supper had been served, whereon ensued a 
pause. It was broken by Montalvo, who, stepping for- 
ward, offered his hand to Lysbeth, saying in a voice that 
all could hear: 

" Lady, my companion of the race, permit the humblest 
representative of the greatest monarch in the world to have 



88 LYSBETH 

an honour which doubtless that monarch would be glad to 
claim." 

That settled the matter, for as the acting commandant 
of the Spanish garrison of Leyden had chosen to refer to 
his official position, it was impossible to question his right 
of precedence over a number of folk, who, although promi- 
nent in their way, were but unennobled Netherlander 
burghers. 

Lysbeth, indeed, did find courage to point to a rather 
flurried and spasmodic lady with grey hair who was fanning 
herself as though the season were July, and wondering 
whether the cook would come up to the grand Spaniard's 
expectations, and to murmur " My aunt." But she got 
no further, for the Count instantly added in a low voice 

" Doubtless comes next in the direct line, but unless my 
education has been neglected, the heiress of the house who 
is of age goes before the collateral however aged. ' ' 

By this time they were through the door, so it was use- 
less to argue the point further, and again Lysbeth felt 
herself overmatched and submitted. In another minute 
they had passed down the stairs, entered the dining hall, 
and were seated side by side at the head of the long table, 
of which the foot was occupied presently by Dirk van 
Goorl and her aunt, who was also his cousin, the widow 
Clara van Ziel. 

There was a silence while the domestics began their ser- 
vice, of which Moutalvo took opportunity to study the 
room, the table and the guests. It was a fine room panelled 
with German oak, and lighted sufficiently, if not bril- 
liantly, by two hanging brass chandeliers of the famous 
Flemish workmanship, in each of which were fixed eighteen 
of the best candles, while on the sideboards were branch 
candlesticks, also of worked brass. The light thus pro- 
vided was supplemented by that from the great fire of 
peat and old ships' timber which burned in a wide blue- 




THEY PASSED DOWN THE STAIRS. 



MONTALVO WINS A TRICK 89 

tiled fire-place, half way down the chamber, throwing its 
reflections upon many a flagon and bowl of cunningly ham- 
mered silver that adorned the table and the sideboards. 

The company was of the same character as the furniture, 
handsome and solid ; people of means, every man and 
woman of them, accumulated by themselves or their fathers, 
in the exercise of the honest and profitable trade whereof 
at this time the Netherlands had a practical monopoly. 

" I have made no mistake," thought Montalvo to him- 
self, as he surveyed the room and its occupants. " My 
little neighbour's necklace alone is worth more cash than 
ever I had the handling of, and the plate would add up 
handsomely. Well, before very long I hope to be in a 
position to make its inventory." Then, having first 
crossed himself devoutly, he fell to upon a supper that was 
well worth his attention, even in a land noted for the luxury 
of its food and wines and the superb appetites of those who 
consumed them. 

It must not be supposed, however, that the gallant cap- 
tain allowed eating to strangle conversation. On the con- 
trary, finding that his hostess was in no talkative mood, he 
addressed himself to his fellow guests, chatting with them 
pleasantly upon every convenient subject. Among these 
guests was none other than Pieter van de Werff, his con 
queror in that afternoon's contest, upon whose watchful 
and suspicious reserve he brought all his batteries to bear. 

First he congratulated Pieter and lamented his own ill- 
luck, and this with great earnestness, for as a matter of 
fact he had lost much more money on the event than he 
could afford to pay. Then he praised the grey horse and 
asked if he was for sale, offering his own black in part 
exchange. 

" A good nag," he said, " but one that I do not wish to 
conceal has his faults, which must be taken into considera- 
tion if it comes to the point of putting a price upon him. 



40 LYSBETH 

For instance, Mynheer van de Werif, you may have noticed 
the dreadful position in which the brute put me towards 
the end of the race. There are certain things that this 
horse always shies at, and one of them is a red cloak. Now 
I don't know if you saw that a girl in a red cloak suddenly 
appeared on the bank. In an instant the beast was round 
and } r ou may imagine what my feelings were, being in 
charge of your fair kinswoman, for I thought to a certainty 
that we should be over. What is more, it quite spoilt my 
chance of the race, for after he has shied like that, the 
black turns sulky, and won't let himself go." 

When Lysbeth heard this amazing explanation, remem- 
bering the facts, she also gasped. And yet now that she 
came to think of it, a girl in a red cloak did appear near 
them at the moment, and the horse did whip round as 
though it had shied violently. Was it possible, she won- 
dered, that the captain had not really intended to foul the 
Badger sledge ? 

Meanwhile Van de Werff was answering in his slow 
voice. Apparently he accepted Montalvo's explanation ; 
at least he said that he, too, saw the red-cloaked girl, 
and was glad that nothing serious had come of the mis- 
chance. As regarded the proposed deal, he should be 
most happy to go into it upon the lines mentioned, as the 
grey, although a very good horse, was aged, and he thought 
the barb one of the most beautiful animals that he had ever 
seen. At this point, as he had not the slightest intention 
of parting with his valuable charger, at any rate on such 
terms, Montalvo changed the subject. 

At length, when men, and, for the matter of that, 
women, too, had well eaten, and the beautiful tall Flemish 
glasses not for the first time were replenished with the best 
Rhenish or Spanish wines, Montalvo, taking advantage of 
a pause in the conversation, rose and said that he wished to 
claim the privilege of a stranger among them and to pro- 



MONTALVO WINS A TRICK 41 

pose a toast, namely, the health of his late adversary, Pieter 
van de Werff. 

At this the audience applauded, for they were all very 
proud of the young man's success, and some of them had 
won money over him. Still more did they applaud, being 
great judges of culinary matters, when the Spaniard began 
his speech by an eloquent tribute to the surpassing excel- 
lence of the supper. Rarely, he assured them, and espe- 
cially did he assure the honourable widow Van Ziel (who 
blushed all over with pleasure at his compliments, and 
fanned herself with such vigour that she upset Dirk's wine 
over his new tunic, cut in the Brussels style), the fame of 
whose skill in such matters had travelled so far as The 
Hague, for he had heard of it there himself rarely even 
in the Courts of Kings and Emperors, or at the tables of 
Popes and Archbishops, had he eaten food so exquisitely 
cooked, or drunk wines of a better vintage. 

Then, passing on to the subject of his speech, Van de 
Werff, he toasted him and his horse and his little sister 
and his sledge, in really well-chosen and appropriate terms, 
not by any means overdoing it, for he confessed frankly 
that his defeat was a bitter disappointment to him, espe- 
cially as every soldier in the camp had expected him to win 
and he was afraid backed him for more than they could 
afford. Also, incidentally, so that every one might be well 
acquainted with it, he retold the story of the girl with the 
red cloak. Next, suddenly dropping his voice and adopt- 
ing a quieter manner, he addressed himself to the Aunt 
Clara and the "well-beloved Heer Dirk," saying that he 
owed them both an apology, which he must take this oppor- 
tunity to make, for having detained the lady at his right dur- 
ing so unreasonable a time that afternoon. When, however, 
they had heard the facts they would, he was sure, blame him 
no longer, especially if he told them that this breach of 
good manners had been the means of saving a human life. 



Immediately after the race, he explained, one of his 
sergeants had found him out to tell him that a woman, 
suspected of certain crimes against life and property and 
believed to be a notorious escaped witch or heretic, had 
been captured, asking for reasons which he need not 
trouble them with, that he would deal with the case at 
once. This woman also, so said the man, had been heard 
that very afternoon to make use of the most horrible, the 
most traitorous and blaspheming language to a lady of 
Leyden, the Jufvrouw Lysbeth van Hout, indeed ; as was 
deposed by a certain spy named Black Meg, who had over- 
heard the conversation. 

Now, went on Montalvo, as he knew well, every man and 
woman in that room would share his horror of traitorous 
and blasphemous heretics here most of the company 
crossed themselves, especially those who were already secret 
adherents of the New Religion. Still, even heretics had a 
right to a fair trial ; at least he, who although a soldier by 
profession, was a man who honestly detested unnecessary 
bloodshed, held that opinion. Also long experience taught 
him great mistrust of the evidence of informers, who had a 
money interest in the conviction of the accused. Lastly, 
it did not seem well to him that the name of a young and 
noble lady should be mixed up in such a business. As they 
knew under the recent edicts, his powers in these cases 
were absolute ; indeed, in his official capacity he was ordered 
at once to consign any suspected of Anabaptism or other 
forms of heresy to be dealt with by the appointed courts, 
and in the case of people who had escaped, to cause them, 
on satisfactory proof of their identity, to be executed in- 
stantly without any further trial. Under these circum- 
stances, fearing that did the lady know his purpose she 
might take fright, he had, he confessed, resorted to artifice, 
as he was very anxious both for her sake and in the inter- 
est of justice that she should bear testimony in the matter. 



MONTALVO WINS A TRICK 43 

So he asked her to accompany him on a short drive while 
he attended to a business affair ; a request to which she 
had graciously assented. 

"Friends," he went on in a still more solemn voice, 
" the rest of my story is short. Indeed do I congratulate 
myself on the decision that I took, for when confronted 
with the prisoner your young and honourable hostess was 
able upon oath to refute the story of the spy with the result 
that I in my turn was able to save an unfortunate, and, as 
I believe, a half-crazed creature from an immediate and a 
cruel death. Is it not so, lady ? " and helpless in the net 
of circumstance, not knowing indeed what else to do, Lys- 
beth bowed her head in assent. 

" I think," concluded Montalvo, " that after this expla- 
nation, what may have appeared to be a breach of man- 
ners will be forgiven. I have only one other word to 
add. My position is peculiar ; I am an official here, and I 
speak boldly among friends taking the risk that any of you 
present will use what I say against me, which for my part 
I do not believe. Although there is no better Catholic and 
no truer Spaniard in the Netherlands, I have been accused 
of showing too great a sympathy with your people, and of 
dealing too leniently with those who have incurred the dis- 
pleasure of our Holy Church. In the cause of right and 
justice I am willing to bear such aspersions ; still this is a 
slanderous world, a world in which truth does not always 
prevail. Therefore, although I have told you nothing 
but the bare facts, I do suggest in the interests of your 
hostess in my own humble interest who might be misrep- 
resented, and I may add in the interest of every one present 
at this board that it will perhaps be well that the details 
of the story which I have had the honour of telling you 
should not be spread about that they should in fact find a 
grave within these walls. Friends, do you agree ? " 

Then moved by a common impulse, and by a common 



44 LYtiBETH 

if a secret fear, with the single exception of Lysbeth, every 
person present, yes, even the cautious and far-seeing young 
Van de Werff, echoed " We agree." 

"Friends," said Montalvo, "those simple words carry 
to my mind conviction deep as any vow however solemn ; 
deep, if that were possible, as did the oath of your hostess, 
upon the faith of which I felt myself justified in acquitting 
the poor creature who was alleged to be an escaped heretic." 
Then with a courteous and all-embracing bow Montalvo 
sat down. 

" What a good man ! What a delightful man ! " mur- 
mured Aunt Clara to Dirk in the buzz of conversation 
which ensued. 

" Yes, yes, cousin, but " 

"And what discrimination he has, what taste! Did 
you notice what he said about the cooking? " 

" I heard something, but " 

" It is true that folk have told me that my capon stewed 
in milk, such as we had to-night Why, lad, what is 
the matter with your doublet ? You fidget me by contin- 
ually rubbing at it." 

"You have upset the red wine over it, that is all," an- 
swered Dirk, sulkily. " It is spoiled." 

"And little loss either ; to tell you the truth, Dirk, I 
never saw a coat worse cut. You young men should learn 
in the matter of clothes from the Spanish gentlemen. 
Look at his Excellency, the Count Montalvo, for in- 
stance " 

"See here, aunt," broke in Dirk with suppressed fury, 
" I think I have heard enough about Spaniards and the 
Captain Montalvo for one night. First of all he spirits off 
Lysbeth and is absent with her for four hours ; then he 
invites himself to supper and places himself at the head of 
the table with her, setting me down to the dullest meal I 
ever ate at the other end " 



MONTALVO WINS A TRICK 45 

"Cousin Dirk," enid Aunt Clara with dignity, "your 
temper has got the better of your manners. Certainly you 
might learn courtesy as well as dress, even from so humble 
a person as a Spanish hidalgo and commander." Then she 
rose from the table, adding " Come, Lysbeth, if you are 
ready, let us leave these gentlemen to their wine." 

After the ladies had gone the supper went on merrily. In 
those days, nearly everybody drank too much liquor, at any 
rate at feasts, and this company was no exception. Even 
Montalvo, his game being won and the strain on his nerves 
relaxed, partook pretty freely, and began to talk in propor- 
tion to his potations. Still, so clever was the man that in 
his cups he yet showed method, for his conversation re- 
vealed a sympathy with Netherlander grievances and a tol- 
erance of view in religious matters rarely displayed by a 
Spaniard. 

From such questions they drifted into a military discus- 
sion, and Montalvo, challenged by Van de Werff, who, as 
it happened, had not drunk too much wine, explained how, 
were he officer in command, he would defend Leyden from 
attack by an overwhelming force. Very soon Van de Werff 
saw that he was a capable soldier who had studied his pro- 
fession, and being himself a capable civilian witli a thirst 
for knowledge pressed the argument from point to point. 

" And suppose," he asked at length, " that the city were 
starving and still untaken, so that its inhabitants must 
either fall into the hands of the enemy or burn the place 
over their heads, what would you do then ? " 

" Then, Mynheer, if I were a small man I should yield to 
the clamour of the starving folk and surrender " 

" And if you were a big man, captain ? " 

" If I were a big man ah ! if I were a big man, why 
then I should cut the dykes and let the sea beat once more 
against the walls of Leyden. An army cannot live in salt 
water, Mynheer." 



46 LYSBETH 

" That would drown out the farmers and ruin the land 
for twenty years." 

" Quite so, Mynheer, but when the corn has to be saved, 
who thinks of spoiling the straw? " 

" I follow you, Sefior, your proverb is good, although I 
have never heard it." 

"Many good things come from Spain, Mynheer, includ- 
ing this red wine. One more glass with you, for, if you 
will allow me to say it, you are a man worth meeting over a 
beaker or a blade." 

" I hope that you will always retain the same opinion of 
me," answered Van de Werff as he drank, " at the trencher 
or in the trenches." 

Then Pieter went home, and before he slept that night 
made careful notes of all the Spaniard's suggested military 
dispositions, both of attackers and attacked, writing under- 
neath them the proverb about the corn and the straw. 
There* existed no real reason why he should have done so, 
as he was only a civilian engaged in business, but Pieter 
van de Werff chanced to be a provident young man who 
knew many things might happen which could not precisely 
be foreseen. As it fell out in after years, a time came 
when he was able to put Montalvo's advice to good use. 
All readers of the history of the Netherlands know how the 
Burgomaster Pieter van de Werff saved Leyden from the 
Spanish. 

As for Dirk van Goorl, he sought his lodging rather tipsy, 
and arm-in-arm with none other than Captain the Count 
Don Juan de Montalvo. 



CHAPTEK IV 

THREE WAKINGS 

THEEE were three persons in Leyden whose reflections 
when they awoke on the morning after the sledge race are 
not without interest, at any rate to the student of their 
history. First there was Dirk van Goorl, whose work 
made an early riser of him to say nothing of a splitting 
headache which on this morning called him into conscious- 
ness just as the clock in the bell tower was chiming half- 
past four. Now there are few things more depressing than 
to be awakened by a bad headache at half -past four in the 
black frost of a winter dawn. Yet as Dirk lay and 
thought a conviction took hold of him that his depression 
was not due entirely to the headache or to the cold. 

One by one he recalled the events of yesterday. First he 
had been late for his appointment with Lysbeth, which 
evidently vexed her. Then the Captain Montalvo had 
swooped down and carried her away, as a hawk bears off a 
chicken under the very eyes of the hen-wife, while he 
donkey that he was could find no words in which to 
protest. Next, thinking it his duty to back the sledge 
wherein Lysbeth rode, although it was driven by a Span- 
iard, he had lost ten florins on that event, which, being a 
thrifty young man, did not at all please him. The rest 
of the fete he had spent hunting for Lysbeth, who myste- 
riously vanished with the Spaniard, an unentertaining and 
even an anxious pastime. Then came the supper, when 
once more the Count swooped down on Lysbeth, leaving 
him to escort his Cousin Clara, whom he considered an old 
fool and disliked, and who, having spoilt his new jacket by 



48 LYSBETH 

spilling wine over it, ended by abusing his taste in dress. 
Nor was that all he had drunk a great deal more strong 
wine than was wise, for to this his head certified. Lastly 
he had walked home arm in arm with this lady-snatching 
Spaniard, and by Heaven ! yes, he had sworn eternal 
friendship with him on the doorstep. 

Well, there was no doubt that the Count was an uncom- 
monly good fellow for a Spaniard. As for that story of 
the foul he had explained it quite satisfactorily, and he had 
taken his beating like a gentleman. Could anything be 
nicer or in better feeling than his allusions to Cousin 
Pieter in his after-supper speech ? Also, and this was a 
graver matter, the man had shown that he was tolerant 
and kindly by the way in which he dealt with the poor 
creature called the Mare, a woman whose history Dirk knew 
well ; one whose sufferings had made of her a crazy and 
rash-tongued wanderer, who, so it was rumoured, could use 
a knife. 

In fact, for the truth may as well be told at once, Dirk 
was a Lutheran, having been admitted to that community 
two years before. To be a Lutheran in those days, that is 
in the Netherlands, meant, it need scarcely be explained, 
that you walked the world with a halter round your neck 
and a vision of the rack and the stake before your eyes ; 
circumstances under which religion became a more earnest 
and serious thing than most people find it in this century. 
Still even at that date the dreadful penalties attaching to 
the crime did not prevent many of the burgher and lower 
classes from worshipping God in their own fashion. Indeed , 
if the truth had been known, of those who were present at 
Lysbeth'e supper on the previous night more than half, 
including Pieter van de Werff, were adherents of the New 
Faith. 

To dismiss religious considerations, however, Dirk could 
have wished that this kindly natured Spaniard was not 



THREE WAKINGS 49 

quite BO good-looking or quite so appreciative of the excel- 
lent points of the young Leyden ladies, and especially of 
Lysbeth's, with whose sterling character, he now remem- 
bered, Montalvo had assured him he was much impressed. 
What he feared was that this regard might be reciprocal. 
After all a Spanish hidalgo in command of the garrison 
was a distinguished person, and, alas ! Lysbeth also was a 
Catholic. Dirk loved Lysbeth ; he loved her with that 
patient sincerity which was characteristic of his race and 
his own temperament, but in addition to and above the 
reasons that have been given already it was this fact of the 
difference of religion which hitherto had built a wall be- 
tween them. Of course she was unaware of anything of the 
sort. She did not know even that he belonged to the New 
Faith, and without the permission of the elders of his sect, 
he would not dare to tell her, for the lives of men and of 
their families could not be confided lightly to the hazard 
of a girl's discretion. 

Herein lay the real reason why, although Dirk was so 
devoted to Lysbeth, and although he imagined that she was 
not indifferent to him, as yet no word had passed between 
them of love or marriage. How could he who was a Lu- 
theran ask a Catholic to become his wife without telling 
her the truth ? And if he told her the truth, and she con- 
sented to take the risk, how could he drag her into that 
dreadful net ? Supposing even that she kept to her own 
faith, which of course she would be at liberty to do, al- 
though equally, of course, he was bound to try to convert 
her, their children, if they had any, must be brought up in 
his beliefs. Then, sooner or later, might come the in- 
former, that dreadful informer whose shadow already lay 
heavy upon thousands of homes in the Netherlands, and 
after the informer the officer, and after the officer the priest, 
and after the priest the judge, and after the judge the 
executioner and the stake. 
4 



60 LTSBETH 

In this case, what would happen to Lysbeth ? She might 
prove herself innocent of the horrible crime of heresy, 
if by that time she was innocent, but what would life be- 
come to the loving young woman whose husband and chil- 
dren, perhaps, had been haled off to the slaughter chambers 
of the Papal Inquisition ? This was the true first cause 
why Dirk had remained silent, even when he was sorely 
tempted to speak ; yes, although his instinct told him that 
his silence had been misinterpreted and set down to over- 
caution, or indifference, or to unnecessary scruples. 

The next to wake up that morning was Lysbeth, who, 
if she was not troubled with headache resulting from indul- 
gence and in that day women of her class sometimes 
suffered from it had pains of her own to overcome. When 
sifted and classified these pains resolved themselves into a 
sense of fiery indignation against Dirk van Goorl. Dirk 
had been late for his appointment, alleging some ridiculous 
excuse about the cooling of a bell, as though she cared 
whether the bell were hot or cold, with the result that she 
had been thrown into the company of that dreadful Martha 
the Mare. After the Mare aggravated by Black Meg 
came the Spaniard. Here again Dirk had shown con- 
temptible indifference and insufficiency, for he allowed 
her to be forced into the Wolf sledge against her will. 
Nay, lie had actually consented to the thing. Next, in a 
fateful sequence followed all the other incidents of that 
hideous carnival ; the race, the foul, if it was a foul ; the 
dreadful nightmare vision called into her mind by the look 
upon Montalvo's face ; the trial of the Mare, her own 
unpremeditated but indelible perjury ; the lonely drive 
with the man who compelled her to it ; the exhibition of 
herself before all the world as his willing companion ; and 
the feast in which he appeared as her cavalier, and was 
accepted of the simple company almost as an angel enter- 
tained bv chance. 



THREE WAKINGS 51 

What did he mean ? Doubtless, for on that point she 
could scarcely be mistaken, he meant to make love to her, 
for had he not in practice said as much ? And now this 
was the terrible thing she was in his power, since if 
he chose to do so, without doubt he could prove that 
she had sworn a false oath for her own purposes. Also 
that lie weighed upon her mind, although it had been 
spoken in a good cause ; if it was good to save a wretched 
fanatic from the fate which, were the truth known, with- 
out doubt her crime deserved. 

Of course, the Spaniard was a bad man, if an attractive 
one, and he had behaved wickedly, if with grace and breed- 
ing ; but who expected anything else from a Spaniard, 
who only acted after his kind and for his own ends ? It 
was Dirk Dirk that was to blame, not so much and 
here again came the rub for his awkwardness and mis- 
takes of yesterday, as for his general conduct. Why had 
he not spoken to her before, and put her beyond the reach 
of such accidents as these to which a woman of her posi- 
tion and substance must necessarily be exposed? The 
saints knew that she had given him opportunity enough. 
She had gone as far as a maiden might, and not for all the 
Dirks on earth would she go one inch further. Why had 
she ever come to care for his foolish face ? Why had she 
refused So-and-so, and So-and-so and So-and-so all of 
them honourable men with the result that now no other 
bachelor ever came near her, comprehending that she was 
under bond to her cousin ? In the past she had persuaded 
herself that it was because of something she felt but could 
not see, of a hidden nobility of character which after 
all was not very evident upon the surface, that she loved 
Dirk van Groorl. But where was this something, this 
nobility? Surely a man who was a man ought to play 
his part, and not leave her in this false position, espe- 
cially as there could be no question of means. She would 



52 LYSBETIl 

not have come to him empty-handed, very far from it, 
indeed. Oh ! were it not for the unlucky fact that she 
still happened to care about him to her sorrow never, 
never would she speak to him again. 

The last of our three friends to awake on this particular 
morning, between nine and ten o'clock, indeed, when Dirk 
had been already two hours at his factory, and Lysbeth was 
buying provisions in the market place, was that accom- 
plished and excellent officer, Captain the Count Juan de 
Montalvo. For a few seconds after his dark eyes opened 
he stared at the ceiling collecting his thoughts. Then, 
sitting up in bed, he burst into a prolonged roar of laugh- 
ter. Really the whole thing was too funny for any man of 
humour to contemplate without being moved to merriment. 
That gaby, Dirk van Goorl ; the furiously indignant but 
helpless Lysbeth ; the solemn, fat-headed fools of Nether- 
landers at the supper, and the fashion in which he had 
played his own tune on the whole pack of them as though 
they were the strings of a fiddle oh ! it was delicious. 

As the reader by this time may have guessed, Montalvo 
was not the typical Spaniard of romance, and, indeed, of 
history. He was not gloomy and stern ; he was not even 
particularly vengeful or bloodthirsty. On the contrary, 
he was a clever and utterly unprincipled man with a sense 
of humour and a gift of bonhomie which made him popular 
in all places. Moreover, he was brave, a good soldier ; in 
a certain sense sympathetic, and, strange to say, no bigot. 
Indeed, which seems to have been a rare thing in those 
days, his religious views were so enlarged that he had none 
at all. His conduct, therefore, if from time to time it was 
affected by passing spasms of acute superstition, was 
totally uninfluenced by any settled spiritual hopes or fears, 
a condition which, he found, gave him great advantages in 
life. In fact, had it suited his purpose, Montalvo was pre- 
pared, at a moment's notice, to become Lutheran or Cal- 



THREE WAKINGS 53 

vinist, or Mahomedau, or Mystic, or even Anabaptist ; on 
the principle, he would explain, that it is easy for the 
artist to paint any picture he likes upon a blank canvas. 

And yet this curious pliancy of mind, this lack of con- 
viction, this absolute want of moral sense, which ought to 
have given the Count such great advantages in his conflict 
with the world, were, in reality, the main source of his 
weakness. Fortune had made a soldier of the man, and 
he filled the part as he would have filled any part. But 
nature intended him for a play-actor, and from day to day 
he posed and mimed and mouthed through life in this 
character or in that, though never in his own character, 
principally because he had none. Still, far down in Mont- 
alvo's being there was something solid and genuine, and 
that something not good but bad. It was very rarely on 
view ; the hand of circumstance must plunge deep to find 
it, but it dwelt there ; the strong, cruel Spanish spirit 
which would sacrifice anything to save, or even to advance, 
itself. It was this spirit that Lysbeth had seen looking 
out of his eyes on the yesterday, which, when he knew that 
the race was lost, had prompted him to try to kill his 
adversary, although he killed himself and her in the at- 
tempt. Nor did she see it then for the last time, for 
twice more at least in her life she was destined to meet 
and tremble at its power. 

In short, although Montalvo was a man who really dis- 
liked cruelty, he could upon occasion be cruel to the last 
degree ; although he appreciated friends, and desired to 
have them, he could be the foulest of traitors. Although 
without a cause he would do no hurt to a living thing, yet 
if that cause were sufficient he would cheerfully consign a 
whole cityful to death. No, not cheerfully, he would 
have regretted their end very much, and often afterwards 
might have thought of it with sympathy and even sorrow. 
This was where he differed from the majority of his coun- 



64 LYSBETH 

trymen iu that age, who would have douc the saine thing, 
and more brutally, from honest principle, and for the rest 
of their lives rejoiced at the memory of the deed. 

Montalvo had his ruling passion ; it was not war, it was 
not women ; it was money. But here again he did not 
care about the money for itself, since he was no miser, and 
being the most inveterate of gamblers never saved a single 
stiver. He wanted it to spend and to stake upon the dice. 
Thus again, in variance to the taste of most of his country- 
men, he cared little for the other sex ; he did not even like 
their society, and as for their passion and the rest he 
thought it something of a bore. But he did care intensely 
for their admiration, so much so that if no better game 
were at hand, he would take enormous trouble to fascinate 
even a serving maid or a fish girl. Wherever he went it 
was his ambition to be reported the man the most admired 
of the fair in that city, and to attain this end he offered 
himself upon the altar of numerous love affairs which did 
not amuse him in the least. Of course, the indulgence of 
this vanity meant expense, since the fair require money and 
presents, and he who pursues them should be well dressed 
and horsed and able to do things in the very finest style. 
Also their relatives must be entertained, and when they 
were entertained impressed with the sense that they had 
the honour to be guests of a grandee of Spain. 

Now that of a grandee has never been a cheap profes- 
sion ; indeed, as many a pauper peer knows to-day, rank 
without resources is a terrific burden. Montalvo had the 
rank, for he was a well-born man, whose sole heritage was 
an ancient tower built by some warlike ancestor in a posi- 
tion admirably suited to the purpose of the said ancestor, 
namely, the pillage of travellers through a neighbouring 
mountain pass. When, however, travellers ceased to use 
that pass, or for other reasons robbery became no longer 
productive, the revenues of the Montalvo family declined 



THREE WAKINGS 50 

till at the present date they were practically nil. Thus it 
came about that the status of the last representative of this 
ancient stock was that of a soldier of fortune of the common 
type, endowed, unfortunately for himself, with grand ideas, 
a gambler's fatal fire, expensive tastes, and more than the 
usual pride of race. 

Although, perhaps, he had never defined them very 
clearly, even to himself, Juan de Montalvo had two aims in 
life : first to indulge his every freak and fancy to the full, 
and next but this was secondary and somewhat nehulous 
to re-establish the fortunes of his family. In themselves 
they were quite legitimate aims, and in those times, when 
fishers of troubled waters generally caught something, and 
when men of ability and character might force their way to 
splendid positions, there was no reason why they should 
not have led him to success. Yet so far, at any rate, in 
spite of many opportunities, he had not succeeded although 
he was now a man of more than thirty. The causes of his 
failure were various, but at the bottom of them lay his 
lack of stability and genuineness. 

A man who is always playing a part amuses every one but 
convinces nobody. Montalvo convinced nobody. When 
he discoursed on the mysteries of religion with priests, 
even priests who in those days for the most part were 
stupid, felt that they assisted in a mere intellectual exer- 
cise. When his theme was war his audience guessed that 
his object was probably love. When love was his song an 
inconvenient instinct was apt to assure the lady imme- 
diately concerned that it was love of self and not of her. 
They were all more or less mistaken, but, as usual, the 
women went nearest to the mark. Montalvo's real aim was 
self, but he spelt it, Money. Money in large sums was 
what he wanted, and what in this way or that he meant to 
win. 

Now even in the sixteenth century fortunes did not lie 



56 LYSBETH 

to the hand of every adventurer. Military pay was small, 
and not easily recoverable ; loot was hard to come by, and 
quickly spent. Even the ransom of a rich prisoner or two 
soon disappeared in the payment of such debts of honour 
as could not be avoided. Of course there remained the 
possibility of wealthy marriage, which in a country like the 
Netherlands, that was full of rich heiresses, was not diffi- 
cult to a high-born, handsome, and agreeable man of the 
ruling Spanish caste. Indeed, after many chances and 
changes the time had come at length when Montalvo must 
either marry or be ruined. For his station his debts, espe- 
cially his gaming debts, were enormous, and creditors met 
him at every turn. Unfortunately for him, also, some of 
these creditors were persons who had the ear of people in 
authority. So at last it came about that an intimation 
reached him that this scandal must be abated, or he must 
go back to Spain, a country which, as it happened, he 
did not in the least wish to visit. In short, the sorry 
hour of reckoning, that hour which overtakes all procrasti- 
nators, had arrived, and marriage, wealthy marriage, was 
the only way wherewith it could be defied. It was a sad 
alternative to a man who for his own very excellent reasons 
did not wish to marry, but this had to be faced. 

Thus it came about that, as the only suitable partie in 
Leyden, the Count Montalvo had sought out the well- 
favoured and well-endowed Jufvrouw Lysbeth van Hout to 
be his companion in the great sledge race, and taken so 
much trouble to ensure to himself a friendly reception at 
her house. 

So far, things went well, and, what was more, the open- 
ing of the chase had proved distinctly entertaining. Also, 
the society of the place, after his appropriation of her at a 
public festival and their long moonlight tete-a-tete, which 
by now must be common gossip's talk, would be quite pre- 
pared for any amount of attention which he might see fit 



THREE WAKINGS 57 

to pay to Lysbeth. Indeed, why should he not pay atten- 
tion to an unaffianced woman whose rank was lower if her 
means were greater than his own? Of course, he knew 
that her name had been coupled with that of Dirk van 
Goorl. He was perfectly aware also that these two young 
people were attached to each other, for as they walked home 
together on the previous night Dirk, possibly for motives 
of his own, had favoured him with a semi-intoxicated confi- 
dence to that effect. But as they were not affianced what 
did that matter ? Indeed, had they been affianced, what 
would it matter ? Still, Dirk van Goorl was an obstacle, 
and, therefore, although he seemed to be a good fellow, 
and he was sorry for him, Dirk van Goorl must be got out 
of the way, since he was convinced that Lysbeth was one 
of those stubborn-natured creatures who would probably 
decline to marry himself until this young Leyden lout had 
vanished. And yet he did not wish to be mixed up with 
duels, if for no other reason because in a duel the unex- 
pected may always happen, and that would be a poor end. 
Certainly also he did not wish to be mixed up with murder ; 
first, because he intensely disliked the idea of killing any- 
body, unless he was driven to it ; and secondly, because 
murder has a nasty way of coming out. One could never 
be quite sure in what light the despatching of a young 
Netherlander of respectable family and fortune would be 
looked at by those in authority. 

Also, there was another thing to be considered. If this 
young man died it was impossible to know exactly hoAV 
Lysbeth would take his death. Thus she might elect to 
refuse to marry or decide to mourn him for four or five 
years, which for all practical purposes would be just as bad. 
And yet while Dirk lived how could he possibly persuade 
her to transfer her affections to himself ? It seemed, there- 
fore, that Dirk ought to decease. For quite a quarter of 
an hour Montalvo thought the matter over, and then, just 



58 LYSBETH 

as lie had given it up and determined to leave things to 
chance, for a while at least, inspiration came, a splendid, a 
heaven-sent inspiration. 

Dirk must not die, Dirk must live, but his continued 
existence must be the price of the hand of Lysbeth van 
Hout. If she was half as fond of the man as he believed, it 
was probable that she would be delighted to marry anybody 
else in order to save his precious neck, for that was just the 
kind of sentimental idiotcy of which nine women out of 
ten really enjoyed the indulgence. Moreover, this scheme 
had other merits ; it did every one a good turn. Dirk would 
be saved from extinction for which he should be grateful : 
Lysbeth, besides earning the honour of an alliance, perhaps 
only temporary, with himself, would be able to go through 
life wrapped in a heavenly glow of virtue arising from the 
impression that she had really done something very fine and 
tragic, while he, Montalvo, under Providence, the humble 
purveyor of these blessings, would also benefit to some 
small extent. 

The difficulty was : How could the situation be created ? 
How could the interesting Dirk be brought to a pass that 
would give the lady an opportunity of exercising her finer 
feelings on his behalf ? If only he were a heretic now ! 
Well, by the Pope why shouldn't he be a heretic ? If ever 
a fellow had the heretical cut this fellow had ; flat-faced, 
sanctimonious-looking, and with a fancy for dark-coloured 
stockings he had observed that all heretics, male and 
female, wore dark-coloured stockings, perhaps by way of 
mortifying the flesh. He could think of only one thing 
against it, the young man had drunk too much last night. 
But there were certain breeds of heretics who did not mind 
drinking too much. Also the best would slip sometimes, 
for, as he had learned from the old Castilian priest who 
taught him Latin, humanum est, etc. 

This, then, was the summary of his reflections. (1) That 



THREE WAKINGS 59 

to save the situation, within three months or so he must be 
united in holy matrimony with Lysbeth van Hout. (2) That 
if it proved impossible to remove the young man, Dirk van 
Goorl, from his path by overmatching him in the lady's 
affections, or by playing on her jealousy (Query: Could a 
woman be egged into becoming jealous of that flounder of 
a fellow and into marrying some one else out of pique?), 
stronger measures must be adopted. (3) That such stronger 
measures should consist of inducing the lady to save her 
lover from death by uniting herself in marriage with 
one who for her sake would do violence to his conscience 
and manipulate the business. (4) That this plan would be 
best put into execution by proving the lover to be a heretic, 
but if unhappily this could not be proved because he was 
not, still he must figure in that capacity for this occasion 
only. (5) That meanwhile it would be well to cultivate 
the society of Mynheer van Goorl as much as possible, first 
because he was a person with whom, under the circum- 
stances, he, Montalvo, would naturally wish to become 
intimate, and secondly, because he was quite certain to be 
an individual with cash to lend. 

Now, these researches after heretics invariably cost money, 
for they involved the services of spies. Obviously, there- 
fore, friend Dirk, the Dutch Flounder, was a man to pro- 
vide the butter in which he was going to be fried. Why, 
if any Hollander had a spark of humour he would see 
the joke of it himself and Montalvo ended his reflections 
as he had begun them, with a merry peal of laughter, after 
which he rose and ate a most excellent breakfast. 

It was about half-past five o'clock that afternoon before 
the Captain and Acting-Commandant Montalvo returned 
from some duty to which he had been attending, for it 
may be explained that he was a zealous officer and a master 
of detail. As he entered his lodgings the soldier who acted 



GO LYSBETU 

as his servant, a man selected for silence and discretion, 
saluted and stood at attention. 

" Is the woman here ? " he asked. 

" Excellency, she is here, though I had difficulty enough 
in persuading her to come, for I found her in bed and out 
of humour." 

" Peace to your difficulties. Where is she ? " 

" In the small inner room, Excellency." 

"Good, then see that no one disturbs us, and stay, 
when she goes out follow her and note her movements till 
you trace her home." 

The man saluted, and Moutalvo passed upstairs into the 
inner room, carefully shutting both doors behind him. 
The place was unlighted, but through the large stone- 
mullioned window the rays of the full moon poured 
brightly, and by them, seated in a straight-backed chair, 
Montalvo saw a draped form. There was something forbid- 
ding, something almost unnatural, in the aspect of this 
sombre form perched thus upon a chair in expectant silence. 
It reminded him for he had a touch of inconvenient 
imagination of an evil bird squatted upon the bough of 
a dead tree awaiting the dawn that it might go forth to 
devour some appointed prey. 

"Is that you, Mother Meg?" he asked in tones from 
which most of the jocosity had vanished. " Quite like 
old times at The Hague isn't it? " 

The moonlit figure turned its head, for he could see the 
light shine upon the whites of the eyes. 

" Who else, Excellency," said a voice hoarse and thick 
with rheum, a voice like the croak of a crow, "though it 
is little thanks to your Excellency. Those must be strong 
who can bathe in Rhine water through a hole in the ice 
and take no hurt." 

"Don't scold, woman," he answered, "I have no time 
for it. If you were ducked yesterday, it served you right 



THREE WAKINGS 61 

for losing your cursed temper. Could you not see that I 
had my own game to play, and you were spoiling it ? Must 
I be flouted before my men, and listen while you warn a 
lady with whom I wish to stand well against me ? " 

" You generally have a game to play, Excellency, but 
when it ends in my being first robbed and then nearly 
drowned beneath the ice well, that is a game which Black 
Meg does not forget." 

" Hush, mother, you are not the only person with a 
memory. What was the reward ? Twelve florins ? "Well, 
you shall have them, and five more ; that's good pay for a 
lick of cold water. Are you satisfied ? " 

" No, Excellency. I wanted the life, that heretic's life. 
I wanted to baste her while she burned, or to tread her 
down while she was buried. I have a grudge against the 
woman because I know, yes, because I know," she repeated 
fiercely, " that if I do not kill her she will try to kill me. 
Her husband and her young son were burnt, ,upon my evi- 
dence mostly, but this is the third time she has escaped 
me." 

" Patience, mother, patience, and I dare say that every- 
thing will come right in the end. You have bagged two 
of the family Papa heretic and Young Hopeful. Really 
you should not grumble if the third takes a little hunting, 
or wonder that in the meanwhile you are not popular with 
Mama. Now, listen. You know the young woman whom 
it was necessary that I should humour yesterday. She is 
rich, is she not?" 

" Yes, I know her, and I knew her father. He left her 
house, furniture, jewellery, and thirty thousand crowns, 
which are placed out at good interest. A nice fortune for 
a gallant who wants money, but it will be Dirk van Goorl's, 
not yours." 

"Ah ! that is just the point. Now what do you know 
about Dirk van Goorl ? " 



02 LYSBETS 

" A respectable, hard-working burgher, son of well-to-do 
parents, brass-workers, who live at Alkmaar. Honest, but 
not very clever ; the kind of man who grows rich, becomes 
a Burgomaster, founds a hospital for the poor, and has a 
fine monument put up to his memory." 

" Mother, the cold water has dulled your wits. When 
I ask you about a man I want to learn what you know 
against him. ' ' 

" Naturally, Excellency, naturally, but against this one 
I can tell you nothing. He has no lovers, he does not 
gamble, he does not drink except a glass after dinner. He 
works in his factory all day, goes to bed early, rises early, 
and calls on the Jufvrouw van Hout on Sundays ; that is 
all." 

" Where does he attend Mass? " 

" At the Groote Kerke once a week, but he does not 
take the Sacrament or go to confession." 

" That sounds bad, mother, very bad. You don't mean 
to say that he is a heretic ? " 

"Probably he is, Excellency; most of them are about 
here." 

" Dear me, how very shocking. Do you know, I should 
not like that excellent young woman, a good Catholic too, 
like you and me, mother, to become mixed up with one of 
these dreadful heretics, who might expose her to all sorts 
of dangers. For, mother, who can touch pitch and not be 
defiled?" 

"You waste time, Excellency," replied his visitor with 
a snort. " What do you want ? " 

" Well, in the interests of this young lady, I want to 
prove that this man is a heretic, and it has struck me that 
as one accustomed to this sort of thing you might be 
able to find the evidence." 

"Indeed, Excellency, and has it struck you what my 
face would look like after I had thrust my head into a 



THREE WAKINGS 63 

Wasp's nest for your amusement? Do you know what it 
means to me if I go peering about among the heretics of 
Leyden ? Well, I will tell you ; it means that I should be 
killed. They are a strong lot, and a determined lot, and 
so long as you leave them alone they will leave you alone, 
but if you interfere with them, why then it is good night. 
Oh ! yes, I know all about the law and the priests and the 
edicts and the Emperor. But the Emperor cannot burn a 
whole people, and though I hate them, I tell you/' she 
added, standing up suddenly and speaking in a fierce, 
convinced voice, "that in the end the law and the edicts 
and the priests will get the worst of this fight. Yes, these 
Hollanders will beat them all and cut the throats of you 
Spaniards, and thrust those of you who are left alive out of 
their country, and spit upon your memories and worship 
God in their own fashion, and be proud and free, when you 
are dogs gnawing the bones of your greatness ; dogs kicked 
back into your kennels to rot there. Those are not my 
own words," said Meg in a changed voice as she sat down 
again. " They are the words of that devil, Martha the 
Mare, which she spoke in my hearing when we had her on 
the rack, but somehow I think that they will come true, and 
that is why I always remember them." 

" Indeed, her ladyship the Mare is a more interesting 
person than I thought, though if she can talk like that, 
perhaps, after all, it would have been as well to drown her. 
And now, dropping prophecy and leaving posterity to ar- 
range for itself, let us come to business. How much ? 
For evidence which would suffice to procure his conviction, 
mind." 

"Five hundred florins, not a stiver less, so, Excellency, 
you need not waste your time trying to beat me down. 
You want good evidence, evidence on which the Council, 
or whoever they may appoint, will convict, and that means 
the unshaken testimony of two witnesses. Well, I tell you, 



64 LYSBETH 

it isn't easy to come by ; there is great danger to the honest 
folk who seek it, for these heretics are desperate people, 
and if they find a spy while they are engaged in devil-wor- 
ship at one of their conventicles, why they kill him." 

"I know all that, mother. What are you trying to cover 
up that you are so talkative ? It isn't your usual way of 
doing business. Well, it is a bargain you shall have your 
money when you produce the evidence. And now really if 
we stop here much longer people will begin to make re- 
marks, for who shall escape aspersion in this censorious 
world? So good-night, mother, good-night," and he 
turned to leave the room. 

"No, Excellency," she croaked with a snort of indigna- 
tion, " no pay, no play ; I don't work on the faith of your 
Excellency's word alone." 

" How much ? " he asked again. 

" A hundred florins down." 

Then for a while they wrangled hideously, their heads 
held close together in the patch of moonlight, and so loath- 
some did their faces look, so plainly was the wicked pur- 
pose of their hearts written upon them, that in that faint 
luminous glow they might have been mistaken for emissa- 
ries from the under-world chaffering over the price of a 
human soul. At last the bargain was struck for fifty 
florins, and having received it into her hand Black Meg 
departed. 

" Sixty-seven in all," she muttered to herself as she re- 
gained the street. " Well, it was no use holding out for 
any more, for he hasn't got the cash. The man's as poor 
as Lazarus, but he wants to live like Dives, and, what is 
more, he gambles, as I learned at The Hague. Also, 
there's something queer about his past ; I have heard as 
much as that. It must be looked into, and perhaps the 
bundle of papers which I helped myself to out of his desk 
while I was waiting " and she touched the bosom of her 



THREE WAKINGS 65 

dress to make sure that they were safe "may tell me a 
thing or two, though likely enough they are only unpaid 
bills. Ah ! most noble cheat and captain, before you have 
done with her you may find that Black Meg knows how to 
pay back hot water for cold ! " 



CHAPTER V 

THE DREAM OF DIRK 

ON the day following Montalvo's interview with Black 
Meg Dirk received a message from that gentleman, sent 
to his lodging by an orderly, which reminded him that he 
had promised to dine with him this very night. Now 
he had no recollection of any such engagement. Remem- 
bering with shame, however, that there were various inci- 
dents of the evening of the supper whereof his memory 
was most imperfect, he concluded that this must be one of 
them. So much against his own wishes Dirk sent back an 
answer to say that he would appear at the time and place 
appointed. 

This was the third thing that had happened to annoy 
him that day. First he had met Pieter van de Werff, 
who informed him that all Leyden was talking about Lys- 
beth and the Captain Montalvo, to whom she was said to 
have taken a great fancy. Next when he went to call at 
the house in the Bree Straat he was told that both Lysbeth 
and his cousin Clara had gone out sleighing, which he did 
not believe, for as a thaw had set in the snow was no longer 
in a condition suitable to that amusement. Moreover, he 
could almost have sworn that, as he crossed the street, he 
caught sight of Cousin Clara's red face peeping at him 
from between the curtains of the upstairs sitting-room. 
Indeed he said as much to Greta, who, contrary to custom, 
had opened the door to him. 

"I am sorry if Mynheer sees visions," answered that 
young woman imperturbably. " I told Mynheer that the 
ladies had gone out sleighing." 



67 

" I know you did, Greta ; but why should they go out 
sleighing in a wet thaw ? " 

"I don't know, Mynheer. Ladies do those things that 
please them. It is not my place to ask their reasons." 

Dirk looked at Greta, and was convinced that she was 
lying. He put his hand in his pocket, to find to his dis- 
gust that he had forgotten his purse. Then he thought of 
giving her a kiss and trying to melt the truth out of her in 
this fashion, but remembering that if he did, she might 
tell Lysbeth, which would make matters worse than ever, 
refrained. So the end of it was that he merely said " Oh ! 
indeed," and went away. 

"Great soft-head," reflected Greta, as she watched his 
retreating form, "he knew I was telling lies, why didn't 
he push past me, or do anything. Ah ! Mynheer Dirk, 
if you are not careful that Spaniard will take your wind. 
Well, he is more amusing, that's certain. I am tired of 
these duck-footed Leydeners, who daren't wink at a donkey 
lest he should bray, and among such holy folk somebody 
a little wicked is rather a change." Then Greta, who, it 
may be remembered, came from Brussels, and had French 
blood in her veins, went upstairs to make a report to her 
mistress, telling her all that passed. 

" I did not ask you to speak falsehoods as to my being 
out sleighing and the rest. I told you to answer that I was 
not at home, and mind you say the same to the Captain 
Montalvo if he calls," said Lysbeth with some acerbity as 
she dismissed her. 

In truth she was very sore and angry, and yet ashamed 
of herself because it was so. But things had gone so hor- 
ribly wrong, and as for Dirk, he was the most exasperating 
person in the world. It was owing to his bad management 
and lack of readiness that her name was coupled with 
Montalvo's at every table in Leyden. And now what did 
she hear in a note from the Captain himself, sent to make 



68 LYSBETE 

excuses for not having called upon her after the supper 
party, but that Dirk was going to dine with him that 
night ? Very well, let him do it ; she would know how to 
pay him back, and if necessary was ready to act up to any 
situation which he had chosen to create. 

Thus thought Lysbeth, stamping her foot with vexation, 
but all the time her heart was sore. All the time she 
knew well enough that she loved Dirk, and, however 
strange might be his backwardness in speaking out his 
mind, that he loved her. And yet she felt as though a 
river was running between them. In the beginning it had 
been a streamlet, but now it was growing to a torrent. 
Worse still the Spaniard was upon her bank of the 
river. 

After he had to some extent conquered his shyness and 
irritation Dirk became aware that he was really enjoying 
his dinner at Montalvo's quarters. There were three guests 
besides himself, two Spanish officers and a young Nether- 
lander of his own class and age, Brant by name. He was 
the only son of a noted and very wealthy goldsmith at The 
Hague, who had sent him to study certain mysteries of the 
metal worker's art under a Leyden jeweller famous for the 
exquisite beauty of his designs. The dinner and the service 
were both of them perfect in style, but better than either 
proved the conversation, which was of a character that 
Dirk had never heard at the tables of his own class and 
people. Not that there was anything even broad about it, 
as might perhaps have been expected. No, it was the talk 
of highly accomplished and travelled men of the world, 
who had seen much and been actors in many moving 
events ; men who were not overtrammelled by prejudices, 
religious or other, and who were above all things desirous 
of making themselves agreeable and instructive to the 
stranger within their gates. The Heer Brant also, who 
had but just arrived in Leyden, showed himself an able 



THE DREAM OF DIRK 69 

and polished man, one that had been educated more thor- 
oughly than was usual among his class, and who, at the 
table of his father, the opulent Burgomaster of The Hague, 
from his youth had associated with all classes and condi- 
tions of men. Indeed it was there that he made the 
acquaintance of Montalvo, who recognising him in the 
street had asked him to dinner. 

After the dishes were cleared, one of the Spanish officers 
rose and begged to be excused, pleading some military 
duty. When he had saluted his commandant and gone, 
Montalvo suggested that they should play a game of 
cards. This was an invitation which Dirk would have 
liked to decline, but when it came to the point he did not, 
for fear of seeming peculiar in the eyes of these brilliant 
men of the world. 

So they began to play, and as the game was simple very 
soon he picked up the points of it, and what is more, found 
them amusing. At first the stakes were not high, but they 
doubled themselves in some automatic fashion, till Dirk was 
astonished to find that he was gambling for considerable 
sums and winning them. Towards the last his luck 
changed a little, but when the game came to an end he 
found himself the richer by about three hundred and fifty 
florins. 

" What am I to do with this ? " he asked colouring up, as 
with sighs, which in one instance were genuine enough, 
the losers pushed the money across to him. 

"Do with it?" laughed Montalvo, "did anybody ever 
hear such an innocent ! Why, buy your lady-love, or 
somebody else's lady-love, a present. No, I'll tell you a 
better use than this, you give us to-morrow night at your 
lodging the best dinner that Leyden can produce, and a 
chance of winning some of this coin back again. Is it 
agreed?" 

"If the other gentlemen wish it," said Dirk, modestly, 



70 LYSBETE 

" though my apartment is but a poor place for such com- 
pany." 

" Of course we wish it," replied the three as with one 
voice, and the hour for meeting having been fixed they 
parted, the Heer Brant walking with Dirk to the door of 
his lodging. 

"I was going to call on you to-morrow," he said, "to 
bring to you a letter of introduction from my father, though 
that should scarcely be needed as, in fact, we are cousins 
second cousins only, our mothers having been first cousins." 

" Oh ! yes, Brant of The Hague, of whom my mother 
used to speak, saying that they were kinsmen to be proud 
of, although she had met them but little. Well, welcome, 
cousin ; I trust that we shall be friends." 

" I am sure of it," answered Brant, and putting his arm 
through Dirk's he pressed it in a peculiar fashion that 
caused him to start and look round. " Hush ! " muttered 
Brant, "not here," and they began to talk of their late 
companions and the game of cards which they had played, 
an amusement as to the propriety of which Dirk intimated 
that he had doubts. 

Young Brant shrugged his shoulders. "Cousin," he 
said, "we live in the world, so it is as well to understand 
the world. If the risking of a few pieces at play, which it 
will not ruin us to lose, helps us to understand it, well, for 
my part I am ready to risk them, especially as it puts us 
on good terms with those who, as things are, it is wise we 
should cultivate. Only, cousin, if I may venture to say it, 
be careful not to take more wine than you can carry with 
discretion. Better lose a thousand florins than let drop one 
word that you cannot remember." 

"I know, I know," answered Dirk, thinking of Lys- 
beth's supper, and at the door of his lodgings they parted. 

Like most Netherlander, when Dirk made up his mind 
to do anything he did it thoroughly. Thus, having under- 



taken to give a dinner party, he determined to give a good 
dinner. In ordinary circumstances his first idea would have 
been to consult his cousins, Clara and Lysbeth. After that 
monstrous story about the sleighing, however, which by 
inquiry from the coachman of the house, whom he hap- 
pened to meet, he ascertained to be perfectly false, this, for 
the young man had some pride, he did not feel inclined to 
do. So in place of it he talked first to his landlady, a 
worthy dame, and by her advice afterwards with the first 
innkeeper of Leyden, a man of resource and experience. 
The innkeeper, well knowing that this customer would 
pay for anything which he ordered, threw himself into the 
affair heartily, with the result that by five o'clock relays of 
cooks and other attendants were to be seen streaming up 
Dirk's staircase, carrying every variety of dish that could be 
supposed to tempt the appetite of high-class cavaliers. 

Dirk's apartment consisted of two rooms situated upon 
the first floor of an old house in a street that had ceased to 
be fashionable. Once, however, it had been a fine house, 
and, according to the ideas of the time, the rooms them- 
selves were fine, especially the sitting chamber, which was 
oak-panelled, low, and spacious, with a handsome fireplace 
carrying the arms of its builder. Oat of it opened his 
sleeping room which had no other doorway likewise oak- 
panelled, with tall cupboards built into the wall, and a 
magnificent carved bedstead, not unlike the canopy of a 
tomb in shape and general appearance. 

The hour came, and with it the guests. The feast began, 
the cooks streamed up and down bearing relays of dishes 
from the inn. Above the table hung a six-armed brass 
chandelier, and in each of its sockets guttered a tallow 
candle furnishing light to the company beneath, although 
outside of its bright ring there was shadow more or less 
dense. Towards the end of dinner a portion of the rush 
wick of one of these candles fell into the brass saucer be- 



72 LYSBETH 

neath, causing the molten grease to burn up fiercely. As 
it chanced, by the light of this sudden flare, Montalvo, who 
was sitting opposite to the door, thought that he caught 
eight of a tall, dark figure gliding along the wall towards 
the bedroom. For one instant he saw it, then it was gone. 

" Caramba, my friend," he said, addressing Dirk, whose 
back was turned towards the figure, "have you any ghosts 
in this gloomy old room of yours? Because, if so, I think 
I have just seen one." 

" Ghosts ! " answered Dirk, " no, I never heard of any ; 
I do not believe in ghosts. Take some more of that pasty." 

Montalvo took some more pasty, and washed it down 
with a glass of wine. But he said no more about ghosts 
perhaps an explanation of the phenomenon had occurred 
to him ; at any rate he decided to leave the subject alone. 

After the dinner they gambled, and this evening the 
stakes began where those of the previous night left off. For 
the first hour Dirk lost, then the luck turned and he won 
heavily, but always from Montalvo. 

"My friend," said the captain at last, throwing down 
his cards, "certainly you are fated to be unfortunate in 
your matrimonial adventures, for the devil lives in your 
dice-box, and his highness does not give everything. I 
pass," and he rose from the table. 

" I pass also," said Dirk following him into the window 
place, for he wished to take no more money. " You have 
been very unlucky, Count," he said. 

"Very, indeed, my young friend," answered Montalvo, 
yawning, " in fact, for the next six months I must live on 
well well, nothing, except the recollection of your excel- 
lent dinner." 

"I am sorry," muttered Dirk, confusedly, "I did not 
wish to take your money ; it was the turn of those accursed 
dice. See here, let us say no more about it." 

"Sir," said Montalvo, with a sudden sternness, "an 



THE DREAM OF DIRK 73 

officer and a gentleman cannot treat a debt of honour thus ; 
but," he added with a little laugh, " if another gentleman 
chances to be good enough to change a debt of honour for 
a debt of honour, the affair is different. If, for instance, 
it would suit you to lend me four hundred florins, which, 
added to the six hundred which I have lost to-night, would 
make a thousand in all, well, it will be a convenience to 
me, though should it he any inconvenience to you, pray do 
not think of such a thing." 

"Certainly," answered Dirk, "I have won nearly as 
much as that, and here at my own table. Take them, I 
beg of you, captain," and emptying a roll of gold into his 
hand, he counted it with the skill of a merchant, and held 
it towards him. 

Montalvo hesitated. Then he took the money, pouring 
it carelessly into his pocket. 

" You have not checked the sum," said Dirk. 

"My friend, it is needless," answered his guest, "your 
word is rather better than any bond," and again he yawned, 
remarking that it was getting late. 

Dirk waited a few moments, thinking in his coarse, 
business-like way that the noble Spaniard might wish to 
say something about a written acknowledgment. As, 
however, this did not seem to occur to him, and the matter 
was not one of ordinary affairs, he led the way back to the 
table, where the other two were now showing their skill in 
card tricks. 

A few minutes later the two Spaniards took their depart- 
ure, leaving Dirk and his cousin Brant alone. 

"A very successful evening," said Brant, "and, cousin, 
you won a great deal." 

" Yes," answered Dirk, "hut all the same I am a poorer 
man than I was yesterday." 

Brant laughed. "Did he borrow of you?" he asked. 
"Well, I thought he would, and what's more, don't you 



74 LYSBETH 

count on that money. Montalvo is a good sort of fellow in 
his own fashion, but he is an extravagant man and a des- 
perate gambler, with a queer history, I fancy at least 
nobody knows much about him, not even his brother offi- 
cers. If you ask them they shrug their shoulders and say 
that Spain is a big kettle full of all sorts of fish. One 
thing I do know, however, that he is over head and ears in 
debt ; indeed, there was trouble about it down at The 
Hague. So, cousin, don't you play with him more than 
you can help, and don't reckon on that thousand florins to 
pay your bills with. It is a mystery to me how the man 
gets on, but I am told that a foolish old vrouw in Amster- 
dam lent him a lot till she discovered but there, I don't 
talk scandal. And now," he added, changing his voice, 
" is this place private ? " 

"Let's see," said Dirk, "they have cleared the things 
away, and the old housekeeper has tidied up my bedroom. 
Yes, I think so. Nobody ever comes up here after ten 
o'clock. What is it?" 

Brant touched his arm, and, understanding the touch, 
Dirk led the way into the window-place. There, standing 
with his back to the room, and his hands crossed in a pecu- 
liar fashion, he uttered the word, " Jesus," and paused. 
Brant also crossed his hands and answered, or, rather, con- 
tinued, " wept." It was the password of those of the New 
Religion. 

" You are one of us, cousin ? " said Dirk. 

* ' I and all my house, my father, my mother, my sister, 
and the maiden whom I am to marry. They told me at 
The Hague that I must seek of you or the young Heer 
Pieter van de Werif, knowledge of those things which we 
of the Faith need to know ; who are to be trusted, and who 
are not to be trusted ; where prayer is held, and where we 
may partake of the pure Sacrament of God the Son." 

Dirk took his cousin's hand and pressed it. The pres- 



THE DREAM OF DIRK 75 

sure was returned, and thenceforward brother could not 
have trusted brother more completely, for now between 
them was the bond of a common and burning faith. 

Such bonds, the reader may say, tie ninety out of every 
hundred people to each other in the present year of grace, 
but it is not to be observed that a like mutual confidence 
results. No, because the circumstances have changed. 
Thanks very largely to Dirk van Goorl and his fellows of 
that day, especially to one William of Orange, it is no 
longer necessary for devout and God-fearing people to 
creep into holes and corners, like felons hiding from the 
law, that they may worship the Almighty after some fash- 
ion as pure as it is simple, knowing the while that if they 
are found so doing their lot and the lot of their wives and 
children will be the torment and the stake. Now the 
thumbscrew and the rack as instruments for the discom- 
fiture of heretics are relegated to the dusty cases of muse- 
ums. But some short generations since all this was differ- 
ent, for then a man who dared to disagree with certain 
doctrines was treated with far less mercy than is shown to 
a dog on the vivisector's table. 

Little wonder, therefore, that those who lay under such 
a ban, those who were continually walking in the cold 
shadow of this dreadful doom, clung to each other, loved 
each other, and comforted each other to the last, passing 
often enough hand-in-hand through the fiery gates to that 
country in which there is no more pain. To be a member 
of the New Religion in the Netherlands under the awful 
rule of Charles the Emperor and Philip the King was to 
be one of a vast family. It was not " sir " or " mistress " 
or " madame," it was " my father " and " my mother," or 
" my sister " and " my brother ; " yes, and between people 
who were of very different status and almost strangers in 
the flesh ; strangers in the flesh but brethren in spirit. 

It will be understood that in these circumstances Dirk 



76 L YSBETU 

and Braut, already liking each other, and being already 
connected by blood, were not slow in coming to a complete 
understanding and fellowship. 

There they sat in the window-place telling each other of 
their families, their hopes and fears, and even of their lady- 
loves. In this, as in every other respect, Hendrik Brant's 
story was one of simple prosperity. He was betrothed to 
a lady of The Hague, the only daughter of a wealthy wine- 
merchant, who, according to his account, seemed to be as 
beautiful as she was good and rich, and they were to be 
married in the spring. But when Dirk told him of his 
affair, he shook his wise young head. 

"You say that both she and her aunt are Catholics?" 
he asked. 

" Yes, cousin, this is the trouble. I think that ehe is 
fond of me, or, at any rate, she was until a few days 
since," he added ruefully, "but how can I, being a 
'heretic,' ask her to plight her troth to me unless I tell 
her? And that, you know, is against the rule ; indeed, I 
scarcely dare to do so." 

"Had you not best consult with some godly elder who 
by prayer and words may move your lady's heart till the 
light shines on her ? " asked Brant. 

" Cousin, it has been done, but always there is the other 
in the way, that red-nosed Aunt Clara, who is a mad idol- 
ater ; also there is the serving-woman, Greta, whom I take 
for little better than a spy. Therefore, between the two of 
them I see little chance that Lysbeth will ever hear the 
truth this side of marriage. And yet how dare I marry 
her? Is it right that I should marry her and therefore, 
perhaps, bring her too to some dreadful fate such as may 
wait for you or me ? Moreover, now since this man Mont- 
alvo has crossed my path, all things seem to have gone 
wrong between me and Lysbeth ; indeed but yesterday her 
door was shut on me." 



TEE DREAM OF DIRK 77 

"Women have their fancies," answered Brant, slowly; 
"perhaps he has taken hers ; she would not be the first 
who walked that plank. Or, perhaps, she is vexed with 
you for not speaking out ere this ; for, man, not knowing 
what you are, how can she read your mind ? " 

"Perhaps, perhaps," said Dirk, "but I know not what 
to do," and in his perplexity he struck his forehead with 
his hand. 

" Then, brother, in that case what hinders that we should 
ask Him Who can tell you ? " said Brant, calmly. 

Dirk understood what he meant at once. "It is a wise 
thought, and a good one, cousin. I have the Holy Book ; 
first let us pray, and then we can seek wisdom there." 

" You are rich, indeed," answered Brant ; " sometime 
you must tell me how and where you came by it." 

" Here in Ley den, if one can afford to pay for them, such 
goods are not hard to get," said Dirk ; "what is hard is 
to keep them safely, for to be found with a Bible in your 
pocket is to carry your own death-warrant." 

Brant nodded. "Is it safe to show it here?" he 
asked. 

" As safe as anywhere, cousin ; the window is shuttered, 
the door is, or will be, locked, but who can say that he is 
safe this side of the stake in a land where the rats and 
mice carry news and the winds bear witness ? Come, I will 
show you where I keep it," and going to the mantelpiece he 
took down a candle-stick, a quaint brass, ornamented on its 
massive oblong base with two copper snails, and lit the 
candle. "Do you like the piece?" he asked ; "it is my 
own design, which I cast and filed out in my spare hours," 
and he gazed at the holder with the affection of an artist. 
Then without waiting for an answer, he led the way to the 
door of his sitting-room and paused. 

" What is it ? " asked Brant. 

"I thought I heard a sound, that is all, but doubtless 



78 LYSBETH 

the old vrouw moves upon the stairs. Turn the key, 
cousin, so, now come on." 

They entered the sleeping chamber, and having glanced 
round and made sure that it was empty, and the window 
shut, Dirk went to the head of the bed, which was formed 
of oak-panels, the centre one carved with a magnificent 
coat-of-arms, fellow to that in the fireplace of the sitting- 
room. At this panel Dirk began to work, till presently it 
slid aside, revealing a hollow, out of which he took a book 
bound in boards covered with leather. Then, having closed 
the panel, the two young men returned to the sitting-room, 
and placed the volume upon the oak table beneath the 
chandelier. 

" First let us pray," said Brant. 

It seems curious, does it not, that two young men as a 
finale to a dinner party, and a gambling match at which 
the stakes had not been low ; young men who like others 
had their weaknesses, for one of them, at any rate, could 
drink too much wine at times, and both being human 
doubtless had further sins to bear, should suggest kneel- 
ing side by side to offer prayers to their Maker before they 
studied the Scriptures? But then in those strange days 
prayer, now so common (and so neglected) an exercise, was 
an actual luxury. To these poor hunted men and women 
it was a joy to be able to kneel and offer thanks and peti- 
tions to God, believing themselves to be safe from the 
sword of those who worshipped otherwise. Thus it came 
about that, religion being forbidden, was to them a very 
real and earnest thing, a thing to be indulged in at every 
opportunity with solemn and grateful hearts. So there, 
beneath the light of the guttering candles, they knelt side 
by side while Brant, speaking for both of them, offered up 
a prayer a sight touching enough and in its way beautiful. 

The words of his petition do not matter. He prayed for 
their Church ; he prayed for their country that it might be 



THE DREAM OF DIRK 79 

made strong and free ; he even prayed for the Emperor, 
the carnal, hare-lipped, guzzling, able Hapsburg self-seeker. 
Then he prayed for themselves and all who were dear to 
them, and lastly, that light might be vouchsafed to Dirk 
in his present difficulty. No, not quite lastly, for he ended 
with a petition that their enemies might be forgiven, yes, 
even those who tortured them and burnt them at the stake, 
since they knew not what they did. It may be wondered 
whether any human aspirations could have been more thor- 
oughly steeped in the true spirit of Christianity. 

When at length he had finished they rose from their 
knees. 

" Shall I open the Book at a hazard/' asked Dirk, 
"and read what my eye falls on ? " 

" No," answered Brant, " for it savours of superstition ; 
thus did the ancients with the writings of the poet Virgil- 
ius, and it is not fitting that we who hold the light should 
follow the example of those blind heathen. What work of 
the Book, brother, are you studying now ? " 

" The first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, which I 
have never read before," he answered. 

" Then begin where you left off, brother, and read your 
chapter. Perhaps we may find instruction in it ; if not, 
no answer is vouchsafed to us to-night." 

So from the black-letter volume before him Dirk began 
to read the seventh chapter, in which, as it chances, the 
great Apostle deals with the marriage state. On he read, 
in a quiet even voice, till he came to the twelfth and four 
following verses, of which the last three run : "For the 
unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbe- 
lieving wife is sanctified by the husband : else were your 
children unclean ; but now they are holy. But if the un- 
believing depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is 
not under bondage in such cases ; but God has called us to 
peace. For what knowest thou, 0, wife, whether thon 



80 LYSBETH 

shalt save thy husband ? or how kuowest thou, 0, man, 
whether thou shalt save thy wife ? " Dirk's voice trem- 
bled, and he paused. 

"Continue to the end of the chapter," said Brant, so 
the reader went on. 

There is a sound. They do not hear it, but the door of 
the bedchamber behind them opens ever so little. They 
do not see it, but between door and lintel something white 
thrusts itself, a woman's white face crowned with black 
hair, and set in it two evil, staring eyes. Surely, when 
first he raised his head in Eden, Satan might have worn 
such a countenance as this. It cranes itself forward till 
the long, thin neck seems to stretch ; then suddenly a stir 
or a movement alarms it, and back the face draws like the 
crest of a startled snake. Back it draws, and the door 
closes again. 

The chapter is read, the prayer is prayed, and strange 
may seem the answer to that prayer, an answer to shake 
out faith from the hearts of men ; men who are impatient, 
who do not know that as the light takes long in travelling 
from a distant star, so the answer from the Throne to the 
supplication of trust may be long in coming. It may not 
come to-day or to-morrow. It may not come in this genera- 
tion or this century ; the prayer of to-day may receive its 
crown when the children's children of the lips that uttered 
it have in their turn vanished in the dust. And yet that 
Divine reply may in no wise be delayed ; even as our liberty 
of this hour may be the fruit of those who died when Dirk 
van Goorl and Hendrik Brant walked upon the earth ; even 
as the vengeance that but now is falling on the Spaniard 
may be the reward of the deeds of shame that he worked 
upon them and upon their kin long generations gone. For 
the Throne is still the Throne, and the star is still the 
star ; from the one flows justice and from the other light, 
and to them time and space are naught. 



THE DREAM OF DIRK 81 

Dirk finished the chapter arid closed the Book. 

"It seems that you have your answer, brother," said 
Braiit quietly. 

" Yes," replied Dirk, " it is written large enough: ' The 
unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband . . . how 
knowest thou, man, whether thou shalt save thy wife ? ' 
Had the Apostle foreseen my case he could not have set 
the matter forth more clearly." 

" He, or the Spirit in him, knew all cases, and wrote for 
every man that ever shall be born," answered Brant. 
" This is a lesson to us. Had you looked sooner you would 
have learned sooner, and mayhap much trouble might have 
been spared. As it is, without doubt you must make haste 
and speak to her at once, leaving the rest with God." 

" Yes," said Dirk, " so soon as may be, but there is one 
thing more ; ought I tell her all the truth ? " 

"I should not be careful to hide it, friend, and now, 
good night. No, do not come to the door with me. Who 
can tell, there may be watchers without, and it is not wise 
that we should be seen together so late." 

When his cousin and new-found friend had gone Dirk 
sat for a while, till the guttering tallow lights overhead 
burned to the sockets indeed. Then, taking the candle 
from the snail-adorned holder, he lit it, and, having extin- 
guished those in the chandeliers, went into his bedroom 
and undressed himself. The Bible he returned to its 
hiding-place and closed the panel, after which he blew out 
the light and climbed into the tall bed. 

As a rule Dirk was a most excellent sleeper ; when he 
laid his head on the pillow his eyes closed nor did they 
open again until the appointed and accustomed hour. But 
this night he could not sleep. Whether it was the dinner 
or the wine, or the gambling, or the prayer and the search- 
ing of the Scriptures with his cousin Brant, the result 
6 



82 LYSBETH 

remained the same ; he was very wakeful, which annoyed 
him the more as a man of his race and phlegm found it 
hard to attribute this unrest to any of these trivial causes. 
Still, as vexation would not make him sleep, he lay awake 
watching the moonlight flood the chamber in broad bars 
and thinking. 

Somehow as Dirk thought thus he grew afraid ; it 
seemed to him as though he shared that place with another 
presence, an evil and malignant presence. Never in his 
life before had he troubled over or been troubled by tales 
of spirits, yet now he remembered Montalvo's remark 
about a ghost, and of a surety he felt as though one were 
with him there. In this strange and new alarm he sought 
for comfort and could think of none save that which an old 
and simple pastor had recommended to him in all hours of 
doubt and danger, namely, if it could be had, to clasp a 
Bible to his heart and pray. 

Well, both things were easy. Kaising himself in .bed, 
in a moment he had taken the book from its hiding-place 
and closed the panel. Then pressing it against his breast 
between himself and the mattress he lay down again, and it 
would seem that the charm worked, for presently he was 
asleep. 

Yet Dirk dreamed a very evil dream. He dreamed that 
a tall black figure leaned over him, and that a long white 
hand was stretched out to his bed-head where it wandered 
to and fro, till at last he heard the panel slide home with a 
rattling noise. 

Then it seemed to him that he woke, and that his eyes 
met two eyes bent down over him, eyes which searched him 
as though they would read the very secrets of his heart. 
He did not stir, he could not, but lo ! in this dream of his 
the figure straightened itself and glided away, appearing 
and disappearing as it crossed the bars of moonlight until 
it vanished by the door. 
I 



THE DREAM OF DIRK 88 

A while later and Dirk woke up in truth, to find that 
although the night was cold enough the sweat ran in big 
drops from his brow and body. But now strangely enough 
his fear was gone, and, knowing that he had but dreamed 
a dream, he turned over, touched the Bible on his breast, 
and fell sleeping like a child, to be awakened only by the 
light of the rising winter sun pouring on his face. 

Then Dirk remembered that dream of the bygone night, 
and his heart grew heavy, for it seemed to him that this 
vision of a dark woman searching his face witli those dread- 
ful eyes was a portent of evil not far away. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE BETROTHAL OF LYSBETH 

ON the following morning when Montalvo entered his 
private room after breakfast, he found a lady awaiting him, 
in whom, notwithstanding the long cloak and veil she wore, 
he had little difficulty in recognising Black Meg. In fact 
Black Meg had been waiting some while, and being a person 
of industrious habits she had not neglected to use her time 
to the best advantage. 

The reader may remember that when Meg visited the 
gallant Captain Montalvo upon a previous occasion, she 
had taken the liberty of helping herself to certain papers 
which she found lying just inside an unlocked desk. These 
papers on examination, as she feared might be the case, for 
the most part proved to be quite unimportant unpaid 
accounts, military reports, a billet or two from ladies, and 
so forth. But in thinking the matter over Black Meg 
remembered that this desk had another part to it, which 
seemed to be locked, and, therefore, just in case they should 
prove useful, she took with her a few skeleton keys and 
one or two little instruments of steel and attended the 
pleasure of her noble patron at an hour when she believed 
that he would be at breakfast in another room. Things 
went well ; he was at breakfast and she was left alone in the 
chamber with the desk. The rest may be guessed. Replac- 
ing the worthless bundle in the unlocked part, by the aid 
of her keys and instruments she opened the inner half. 
There sure enough were letters hidden, and in a little 
drawer two miniatures framed in gold, one of a lady, young 
and pretty with dark eyes, and the other of two children, a 



THE BETROTHAL OF LYSBETH 85 

boy and a girl of five or six years of age. Also there was a 
curling lock of hair labelled in Montalvo's writing 
" Juanita's hair, which she gave me as a keepsake." 

Here was treasure indeed whereof Black Meg did not 
fail to possess herself. Thrusting the letters and other 
articles into the bosom of her dress to be examined at leis- 
ure, she was clever enough, before closing and re-locking 
the desk, to replace them with a dummy bundle, hastily 
made up from some papers that lay about. 

When everything had been satisfactorily arranged she 
went outside and chatted for a while with the soldier on 
guard, only re-entering the room by one door as Montalvo 
appeared in it through the other. 

" Well, my friend," he said, " have you the evidence?" 

" I have some evidence, Excellency," she answered. " I 
was present at the dinner that you ate last night, although 
none of it came my way, and I was present afterwards." 

" Indeed. I thought I saw you slip in, and allow me to 
congratulate you on that ; it was very well thought out 
and done, just as folk were moving up and down the stairs. 
Also, when I went home, I believe that I recognised a gen- 
tleman in the street whom I have been given to understand 
you honour with your friendship, a short, stout person 
with a bald head ; let me see, he was called the Butcher at 
The Hague, was he not ? No, do not pout, I have no wish 
to pry into the secrets of ladies, but still in my position 
here it is my business to know a thing or two. Well, what 
did you see?" 

" Excellency, I saw the young man I was sent to watch 
and Hendrik Brant, the son of the rich goldsmith at The 
Hague, praying side by side upon their knees." 

" That is bad, very bad," said Montalvo shaking his head, 
"but " 

" I saw," she went on in her hoarse voice, ' the pair of 
them read the Bible." 



86 LYSBETH 

"How shocking!" replied Montalvo with a simulated 
shudder. " Think of it, my orthodox friend, if you are to 
be believed, these two persons, hitherto supposed to be 
respectable, have been discovered in the crime of consulting 
that work upon which our Faith is founded. Well, those 
who could read anything so dull must, indeed, as the edicts 
tell us, be monsters unworthy to live. But, if you please, 
your proofs. Of course you have this book ? " 

Then Black Meg poured forth all her tale how she had 
watched and seen something, how she had listened and 
heard little, how she had gone to the secret panel, bending 
over the sleeping man, and found nothing. 

" You are a poor sort of spy, mother," commented the 
captain when she had done, " and, upon my soul, I do 
not believe that even a Papal inquisitor could hang that 
young fellow on your evidence. You must go back and 
get some more." 

" No," answered Black Meg with decision, " if you want 
to force your way into conventicles you had best do it your- 
self. As I wish to go on living here is no job for me. I 
have proved to you that this young man is a heretic, so now 
give me my reward." 

" Your reward ? Ah ! your reward. No, I think not 
at present, for a reward presupposes services and I see 
none." 

Black Meg began to storm. 

"Be silent," said Montalvo, dropping his bantering 
tone. " Look, I will be frank with you. I do not want to 
burn anybody. I am sick of all this nonsense about reli- 
gion, and for aught I care every Netherlander in Leyden 
may read the Bible until he grows tired. I seek to marry 
the Juf vrouw Lysbeth van Hout, and to do this I desire to 
prove that the man whom she loves, Dirk van Goorl, is a 
heretic. What you have told me may or may not be suffi- 
cient for my purpose. If it is sufficient you shall be paid 



THE BETROTHAL OF LYSBETH 87 

liberally after my marriage ; if not well, you have had 
enough. As for your evidence, for my part I may say that 
I do not believe a word of it, for were it true you would 
have brought the Bible." 

As he spoke he rang a bell which stood upon a table, and 
before Meg could answer the soldier appeared. 

" Show this good woman out," he said, adding, in a 
loud voice, " Mother, I will do my best for you and forward 
your petition to the proper quarter. Meanwhile, take this 
trifle in charity," and he pressed a florin into her hand. 
" Now, guard, the prisoners, the prisoners. I have no time 
to waste and listen let me be troubled with no more 
beggars, or you will hear of it." 

That afternoon Dirk, filled with a solemn purpose, and 
dressed in his best suit, called at the house in the Bree 
Straat, where the door was again opened by Greta, who 
looked at him expectantly. 

" Is your mistress in ? " he stammered. " I have come to 
see your mistress." 

"Alas! Mynheer," answered the young woman, "you 
are just too late. My mistress and her aunt, the Vrouw 
Clara, have gone away to stay for a week or ten days as the 
Vrouw Clara's health required a change." 

"Indeed," said Dirk aghast, "and where have they 
gone?" 

" Oh ! Mynheer, I do not know that, they did not tell 
me," and no other answer could he extract from her. 

So Dirk went away discomfited and pondering. An hour 
later the Captain Montalvo called, and strange to say 
proved more fortunate. By hook or by crook he obtained 
the address of the ladies, who were visiting, it appeared, at 
a seaside village within the limits of a ride. By a curious 
coincidence that very afternoon Montalvo, also seeking rest 
and change of air, appeared at the inn of this village, 



88 LYSBETH 

giving it out that he proposed to lodge there for a 
while. 

As he walked upon the beach next day, whom should he 
chance to meet but the \ 7 rouw Clara van Ziel, and never 
did the worthy Clara spend a more pleasant morning. So 
at least she declared to Lysbeth when she brought her cava- 
lier back to dinner. 

The reader may guess the rest. Montalvo paid his court, 
and in due course Montalvo was refused. He bore the blow 
with a tender resignation. 

" Confess, dear lady," he said, " that there is some other 
man more fortunate." 

Lysbeth did not confess, but, on the other hand, neither 
did she deny. 

" If he makes you happy I shall be more than satisfied," 
the Count murmured, " but, lady, loving you as I do, I do 
not wish to see you married to a heretic." 

" "What do you mean, Sefior ? " asked Lysbeth, bridling. 

" Alas ! " he answered, " I mean that, as I fear, the 
worthy Heer Dirk van Goorl, a friend of mine for whom I 
have every respect, although he has outstripped me in your 
regard, has fallen into that evil net." 

"Such accusations should not be made," said Lysbeth 

sternly, "unless they can be proved. Even then ," 

and she stopped. 

"I will inquire further," replied the swain. "For 
myself I accept the position, that is until you learn to love 
me, if such should be my fortune. Meanwhile I beg of 
you at least to look upon me as a friend, a true friend who 
would lay down his life to serve you." 

Then, with many a sigh, Montalvo departed home to 
Leyden upon his beautiful black horse, but not before he 
had enjoyed a few minutes' earnest conversation with the 
worthy Tante Clara. 

, if only this old lady were concerned," he re- 



TEE BETROTHAL OF LYSBETH 89 

fleeted as he rode away, " the matter might be easy enough, 
and the Saints know it would be one to me, but unhappily 
that obstinate pig of a Hollander girl has all the money in 
her own right. In what labours do not the necessities of 
rank and station involve a man who by disposition requires 
only ease and quiet ! Well, my young friend Lysbeth, if 
I do not make you pay for these exertions before you are 
two months older, my name is not Juan de Montalvo." 

Three days later the ladies returned to Leyden. Within 
an hour of their arrival the Count called, and was admitted. 

" Stay with me," said Lysbeth to her Aunt Clara as the 
visitor was announced, and for a while she stayed. Then, 
making an excuse, she vanished from the room, and Lys- 
beth was left face to face with her tormentor. 

" Why do you come here ? " she asked ; "I have given 
you my answer." 

"I come for your own sake," he replied, "to give you 
my reasons for conduct which you may think strange. 
You remember a certain conversation ? " 

" Perfectly," broke in Lysbeth. 

"A slight mistake, I think, Jufvrouw, I mean a conver- 
sation about an excellent friend of yours, whose spiritual 
affairs seem to interest you." 

"What of it, Seflor?" 

" Only this ; I have made inquiries, and " 

Lysbeth looked up unable to conceal her anxiety. 

"Oh ! Jufvrouw, let me beg of you to learn to control 
your expression ; the open face of childhood is so dangerous 
in these days." 

" He is my cousin." 

" I know; were he anything more, I should be so grieved, 
but we can most of us spare a cousin or two." 

" If you would cease amusing yourself, Sefior " 

" And come to the point ? Of course I will. Well, the 



90 LYSBETH 

result of my inquiries has been to find out that this worthy 
person is a heretic of the most pernicious sort. I said 
inquiries, but there was no need for me to make any. He 
has been " 

"Not denounced," broke in Lysbeth. 

" Oh ! my dear lady, again that tell-tale emotion from 
which all sorts of things might be concluded. Yes de- 
nounced but fortunately to myself as a person appointed 
under the Edict. It will, I fear, be my duty to have him 
arrested this evening you wish to sit down, allow me to 
hand you a chair but I shall not deal with the case myself. 
Indeed, I propose to pass him over to the worthy Ruard 
Tapper, the Papal Inquisitor, you know every one has 
heard of the unpleasant Tapper who is to visit Leyden 
next week, and who, no doubt, will make short work of 
him." 

"What has he done?" asked Lysbeth in a low voice, 
and bending down her head to hide the working of her 
features. 

" Done ? My dear lady, it is almost too dreadful to tell 
you. This misguided and unfortunate young man, with 
another person whom the witnesses have not been able to 
identify, was seen at midnight reading the Bible." 

" The Bible ! Why should that be wrong ? " 

" Hush ! Are you also a heretic ? Do you not know 
that all this heresy springs from the reading of the Bible ? 
You see, the Bible is a very strange book. It seems that 
there are many things in it which, when read by an ordi- 
nary layman, appear to mean this or that. When read by 
a consecrated priest, however, they mean something quite 
different. In the same way, there are many doctrines which 
the layman cannot find in the Bible that to the consecrated 
eye are plain as the sun and the moon. The difference 
between heresy and orthodoxy is, in short, the difference 
between what can actually be found in the letter of this 



TEE BETROTHAL OF LYSBETH 91 

remarkable work and what is really there according to 
their holinesses." 

"Almost thou persuadest me " began Lysbeth bitterly. 

" Hush ! lady to be, what you are, an angel." 

There came a pause. 

" What will happen to him ? " asked Lysbeth. 

" After after the usual painful preliminaries to discover 
accomplices, I presume the stake, but possibly, as he has 
the freedom of Leyden, he might get off with hanging." 

" Is there no escape ? " 

Montalvo walked to the window, and looking out of it 
remarked that he thought it was going to snow. Then 
suddenly he wheeled round, and staring hard at Lysbeth 
asked, 

" Are you really interested in this heretic, and do you 
desire to save him ? " 

Lysbeth heard and knew at once that the buttons were off 
the foils. The bantering, whimsical tone was gone. Now 
her tormentor's voice was stern and cold, the voice of a man 
who was playing for great stakes and meant to win them. 

She also gave up fencing. 

" I am and I do," she answered. 

" Then it can be done at a price." 

"What price?" 

" Yourself in marriage within three weeks." 

Lysbeth quivered slightly, then sat still. 

" Would not my fortune do instead ? " she asked. 

"Oh! what a poor substitute you offer me," Montalvo 
said, with a return to his hateful banter. Then he added, 
" That offer might be considered were it not for the abomin- 
able laws which you have here. In practice it would be almost 
impossible for you to hand over any large sum, much of 
which is represented by real estate, to a man who is not 
your husband. Therefore I am afraid I must stipulate 
that you and your possessions shall not be separated." 



92 LYSBETH 

Again Lysbeth sat silent. Montalvo, watching her with 
genuine interest, saw signs of rebellion, perchance of de- 
spair. He saw the woman's mental and physical loathing 
of himself conquering her fears for Dirk. Unless he was 
much mistaken she was about to defy him, which, as a 
matter of fact, would have proved exceedingly awkward, as 
his pecuniary resources were exhausted. Also on the very 
insufficient evidence which he possessed he would not have 
dared to touch Dirk, and thus make to himself a thousand 
powerful enemies. 

"It is strange," he said, "that the irony of circum- 
stances should reduce me to pleading for a rival. But, 
Lysbeth van Hout, before you answer I beg you to think. 
Upon the next movements of your lips it depends whether 
that body you love shall be stretched upon the rack, whether 
those eyes which you find pleasant shall grow blind with 
agony in the darkness of a dungeon, and whether that flesh 
which you think desirable shall scorch and wither in the 
furnace. Or, on the other hand, whether none of these 
things shall happen, whether this young man shall go free, 
to be for a month or two a little piqued a little bitter 
about the inconstancy of women, and then to marry some 
opulent and respected heretic. Surely you could scarcely 
hesitate. Oh ! where is the self-sacrificing spirit of the sex 
of which we hear so much? Choose." 

Still there was no answer. Montalvo, playing his trump 
card, drew from his vest an official-looking document, 
sealed and signed. 

" This," he said, " is the information to be given to the 
incorruptible Ruard Tapper. Look, here written on it is 
your cousin's name. My servant waits for me in your 
kitchen. If you hesitate any longer, I call him and in 
your presence charge him to hand that paper to the messen- 
ger who starts this afternoon for Brussels. Once given it 
cannot be recalled and the pious Dirk's doom is sealed." 



98 

Lysbeth's spirit began to break. "How can I?" she 
asked. " It is true that we are not affianced ; perhaps for 
this very reason which I now learn. But he cares for me 
and knows that I care for him. Must I then, in addition 
to the loss of him, be remembered all his life as little better 
than a light-of-love caught by the tricks and glitter of such 
a man as you ? I tell you that first I will kill myself." 

Again Montalvo went to the window, for this hint of 
suicide was most disconcerting. No one can marry a dead 
woman, and Lysbeth was scarcely likely to leave a will in 
his favour. It seemed that what troubled her particularly 
was the fear lest the young man should think her conduct 
light. Well, why should she not give him a reason which 
he would be the first to acknowledge as excellent for break- 
ing with him ? Could she, a Catholic, be expected to wed 
a heretic, and could he not be made to tell her that he was 
a heretic ? 

Behold an answer to his question ! The Saints them- 
selves, desiring that this pearl of price should continue to 
rest in the bosom of the true Church, had interfered in his 
behalf, for there in the street below was Dirk van Goorl 
approaching Lysbeth's door. Yes, there he was dressed in 
his best burgher's suit, his brow knit with thought, his 
step hesitating ; a very picture of the timid, doubtful 
lover. 

"Lysbeth van Hout," said the Count, turning to her, 
' 'as it chances the Heer Dirk van Goorl is at your door. 
You will admit him, and this matter can be settled one way 
or the other. I wish to point out to you how needless it is 
that the young man should be left believing that you have 
treated him ill. All which is necessary is that you should 
ask whether or no he is of your faith. If I know him, 
he will not lie to you. Then it remains only for you 
to say for doubtless the man comes here to seek your 
hand that however much it may grieve you to give such 



94 LYSBETH 

an answer, you can take no heretic to husband. Do you 
understand?" 

Lysbeth bowed her head. 

" Then listen. You will admit your suitor ; you will 
allow him to make his offer to you now if he is so inclined ; 
you will, before giving any answer, ask him of his faith. If 
he replies that he is a heretic, you will dismiss him as kindly 
as you wish. If he replies that he is a true servant of the 
Church, you will say that you have heard a different tale and 
must have time to make inquiries. Remember also that if 
by one jot you do otherwise than I have bid you, when 
Dirk van Goorl leaves the room you see him for the last 
time, unless it pleases you to attend his execution. Where- 
as if you obey and dismiss him finally, as the door shuts 
behind him I put this Information in the fire and satisfy 
you that the evidence upon which it is based is for ever 
deprived of weight and done with." 

Lysbeth looked a question. 

" I see you are wondering how I should know what you 
do or do not do. It is simple. I shall be the harmless but 
observant witness of your interview. Over this doorway 
hangs a tapestry ; you will grant me the privilege not 
a great one for a future husband of stepping behind 
it." 

"Never, never," said Lysbeth, "I cannot be put to 
such a shame. I defy you." 

As she spoke came the sound of knocking at the street 
door. Glancing up at Montalvo, for the second time she 
saw that look which he had worn at the crisis of the sledge 
race. All its urbanity, its careless bonhomie, had vanished. 
Instead of these appeared a reflection of the last and inner- 
most nature of the man, the rock foundation, as it were, 
upon which was built the false and decorated superstructure 
that he showed to the world. There were the glaring eyes, 
there the grinning teeth of the Spanish wolf ; a ravening 



THE BETROTHAL OF LYSBETH 85 

brute ready to rend and tear, if so he might satisfy himself 
with the meat his soul desired. 

" Don't play tricks with me," he muttered, " and don't 
argue, for there is no time. Do as I bid you, girl, or on 
your head will be this psalm-singing fellow's blood. And, 
look you, don't try setting him on me, for I have my 
sword and he is unarmed. If need be a heretic may be 
killed at sight, you know, that is by one clothed with au- 
thority. When the servant announces him go to the door 
and order that he is to be admitted," and picking up his 
plumed hat, which might have betrayed him, Montalvo 
stepped behind the arras. 

For a moment Lysbeth stood thinking. Alas ! she could 
see no possible escape, she was in the toils, the rope was 
about her throat. Either she must obey or, so she thought, 
she must give the man she loved to a dreadful death. For 
his sake she would do it, for his sake and might God for- 
give her ! Might God avenge her and him ! 

Another instant and there came a knock upon the door. 
She opened it. 

"The Heer van Goorl stands below," said the voice of 
Greta, "wishing to see you, madam." 

"Admit him," answered Lysbeth, and going to a chair 
almost in the centre of the room, she seated herself. 

Presently Dirk's step sounded on the stair, that known, 
beloved step for which so often she had listened eagerly. 
Again the door opened and Greta announced the Heer van 
Goorl. That she could not see the Captain Montalvo evi- 
dently surprised the woman, for her eyes roamed round the 
room wonderingly, but she was too well trained, or too well 
bribed, to show her astonishment. Gentlemen of this 
kidney, as Greta had from time to time remarked, have a 
faculty for vanishing upon occasion. 

So Dirk walked into the fateful chamber as some inno- 
cent and unsuspecting creature walks into a bitter snare, 



9fl LYSBETH 

little knowing that the lady whom he loved and whom 
he came to win was set as a bait to ruin him. 

"Be seated, cousin," said Lysbeth, in a voice so forced 
and strained that it caused him to look up. But he saw 
nothing, for her head was turned away from him, and for 
the rest his mind was too preoccupied to be observant. By 
nature simple and open, it would have taken much to 
wake Dirk into suspicion in the home and presence of his 
love and cousin, Lysbeth. 

" Good day to you, Lysbeth," he said awkwardly ; " why, 
how cold your hand is ! I have been trying to find you for 
some time, but you have always been out or away, leav- 
ing no address." 

" I have been to the sea with my Aunt Clara," she an- 
swered. 

Then for a while five minutes or more there followed 
a strained and stilted conversation. 

"Will the booby never come to the point?" reflected 
Montalvo, surveying him through a join in the tapestry. 
" By the Saints, what a fool he looks ! " 

"Lysbeth," said Dirk at last, "I want to speak to 
you." 

" Speak on, cousin," she answered. 

" Lysbeth, I I have loved you for a long while, and 
I have come to ask you to marry me. I have put it off 
for a year or more for reasons which I hope to tell you 
some day, but I can keep silent no longer, especially now 
when I see that a much finer gentleman is trying to win 
you I mean the Spanish Count, Montalvo," he added with 
a jerk. 

She said nothing in reply. So Dirk went on pouring out 
all his honest passion in words that momentarily gathered 
weight and strength, till at length they were eloquent 
enough. He told her how since first they met he had loved 
her and only her, and how his one desire in life was to make 



THE BETROTHAL OF LYSBETH 97 

her happy and be happy with her. Pausing at length he 
began to speak of his prospects then she stopped him. 

" Your pardon, Dirk," she said, " but I have a question 
to ask of you," and her voice died away in a kind of sob. 
"I have heard rumours about you," she went on pres- 
ently, "which must be cleared up. I have heard, Dirk, 
that by faith you are what is called a heretic. Is it true ? " 

He hesitated before answering, feeling that much de- 
pended on that answer. But it was only for an instant, 
since Dirk was far too honest a man to lie. 

" Lysbeth, " he said, "I will tell to you what I would 
not tell to any other living creature, not being one of my 
own brotherhood, for whether you accept me or reject me, 
I know well that I am as safe in speaking to you as when 
upon my knees I speak to the God I serve. I am what you 
call a heretic. I am a member of that true faith to which 
I hope to draw you, but which if you do not wish it I should 
never press upon you. It is chiefly because I am what I am 
that for so long I have hung back from speaking to you, 
since I did not know whether it would be right things 
being thus to ask you to mix your lot with mine, or 
whether I ought to marry you, if you would marry me, 
keeping this secret from you. Only the other night I 
sought counsel of well, never mind of whom and we 
prayed together, and together searched the Word of God. 
And there, Lysbeth, by some wonderful mercy, I found my 
prayer answered and my doubts solved, for the great St. 
Paul had foreseen this case, as in that Book all cases are 
foreseen, and I read how the unbelieving wife may be sanc- 
tified by the husband, and the unbelieving husband by the 
wife. Then everything grew clear to me, and I determined 
to speak. And now, dear, I have spoken, and it is for you 
to answer." 

" Dirk, dear Dirk," she replied almost with a cry, " alas ! 
for the answer which I must give you. Renounce the error 
7 



98 LYSBETH 

of your ways, make confession, and be reconciled to the 
Church and I will marry you. Otherwise I canuot, no, 
and although I love you, you and no other man " here 
she put an energy into her voice that was almost dreadful 
" with all my heart and soul and body ; I cannot, I can- 
not, I cannot ! " 

Dirk heard, and his ruddy face turned ashen grey. 

" Cousin," he replied, "you seek of me the one thing 
which I must not give. Even for your sake I may not 
renounce my vows and my God as I behold Him. Though 
it break my heart to bid you farewell and live without you, 
here I pay you back in your own words I cannot, I 
cannot ! " 

Lysbeth looked at him, and lo ! his short, massive form 
and his square-cut, honest countenance in that ardour of 
renunciation had suffered a change to things almost divine. 
At that moment to her sight at least this homely Hol- 
lander wore the aspect of an angel. She ground her teeth 
and pressed her hands upon her heart. " For his sake to 
save him," she muttered to herself then she spoke. 

' ' I respect you for it, I love you for it more than ever ; 
but, Dirk, it is over between us. One day, here or here- 
after, you will understand and you will forgive." 

" So be it," said Dirk hastily, stretching out his hand to 
find his hat, for he was too blind to see. " It is a strange 
answer to my prayer, a very strange answer ; but doubtless 
you are right to follow your lights as I am sure that I am 
right to follow mine. We must carry our cross, dear Lys- 
beth, each of us ; you see that we must carry our cross. 
Only I beg of you I don't speak as a jealous man, because 
the thing has gone further than jealousy I speak as a 
friend, and come what may while I live you will always find 
me that I beg of you, beware of the Spaniard, Montalvo. 
I know that he followed you to the coast ; I have heard too 
he boasts that he will marry you. The man is wicked, 






THE BETROTHAL OF LYSBETH 99 

although he took me in at first. I feel it his presence 
seems to poison the air, yes, this very air I breathe. But 
oh ! and I should like him to hear me say it, because I am 
sure that he is at the bottom of all this, his hour will come. 
For whatever he does he will be paid back ; he will be paid 
back here and hereafter. And now, good-bye. God bless 
you and protect you, dear Lysbeth. If you think it wrong 
you are quite right not to marry me, and I know that you 
will keep my secret. Good-bye again," and lifting her 
hand Dirk kissed it. Then he stumbled from the room. 

As for Lysbeth she cast herself at full length, and in 
the bitterness of her heart beat her brow upon the boards. 

When the front door had shut behind Dirk, but not be- 
fore, Montalvo emerged from his hiding place and stood 
over the prostrate Lysbeth. He tried to adopt his airy and 
sarcastic manner, but he was shaken by the scene which he 
had overheard, shaken and somewhat frightened also, for 
he felt that he had called into being passions of which the 
force and fruits could not be calculated. 

"Bravo ! my little actress," he began, then gave it up 
and added in his natural voice, "you had best rise and see 
me burn this paper." 

Lysbeth struggled to her knees and watched him thrust 
the document between two glowing peats. 

" I have fulfilled my promise," he said, "and that evi- 
dence is done with, but in case you should think of playing 
any tricks and not fulfilling yours, please remember that I 
have fresh evidence infinitely more valuable and convincing, 
to gain which, indeed, I condescended to a stratagem not 
quite in keeping with my traditions. With my own ears I 
heard this worthy gentleman, who is pleased to think so 
poorly of me, admit that he is a heretic. That is enough 
to burn him any day, and I swear that if within three 
weeks we are not man and wife, burn he shall." 



100 LYSBETH 

While he was speaking Lysbeth had risen slowly to her 
feet. Now she confronted him, no longer the Lysbeth 
whom he had known, but a new being filled like a cup with 
fury that was the more awful because it was so quiet. 

" Juan de Montalvo," she said in alow voice, " your wick- 
edness has won and for Dirk's sake my person and my 
goods must pay its price. So be it since so it must be, but 
listen. I make no prophecies about you ; I do not say that 
this or that shall happen to you, but I call down upon you 
the curse of God and the execration of men." 

Then she threw up her hands and began to pray. " God, 
"Whom it has pleased that I should be given to a fate far 
worse than death ; God, blast the mind and the soul of 
this monster. Let him henceforth never know a peaceful 
hour; let misfortune come upon him through me and mine; 
let fears haunt his sleep. Let him live in heavy labour and 
die in blood and misery, and through me ; and if I bear 
children to him, let the evil be upon them also." 

She ceased. Montalvo looked at her and tried to speak. 
Again he looked and again he tried to speak, but no words 
would come. 

Then the fear of Lysbeth van Hout fell upon him, that 
fear which was to haunt him all his life. He turned and 
crept from the room, and his face was like the face of an 
old man, nor, notwithstanding the height of his immediate 
success, could his heart have been more heavy if Lysbeth 
had been an angel sent straight from Heaven to proclaim 
to him the unalterable doom of God. 



CHAPTER VII 

HENDKIK BKANT HAS A VISITOR 

months had gone by, and for more than eight of 
them Lysbeth had been known as the Countess Juan de 
Montalvo. Indeed of this there could be no doubt, since 
she was married with some ceremony by the Bishop in the 
Groote Kerk before the eyes of all men. Folk had won- 
dered much at these hurried nuptials, though some of the 
more ill-natured shrugged their shoulders and said that 
when a young woman had compromised herself by long and 
lonely drives with a Spanish cavalier, and was in conse- 
quence dropped by her own admirer, why the best thing 
she could do was to marry as soon as possible. 

So the pair, who looked handsome enough before the 
altar, were wed, and went to taste of such nuptial bliss as 
was reserved for them in Lysbeth 's comfortable house in 
the Bree Straat. Here they lived almost alone, for Lys- 
beth's countrymen and women showed their disapproval of 
her conduct by avoiding her company, and, for reasons of 
his own, Montalvo did not encourage the visiting of Span- 
iards at his house. Moreover, the servants were changed, 
while Tante Clara and the girl Greta had also disappeared. 
Indeed, Lysbeth, finding out the false part which they had 
played towards her, dismissed them both before her mar- 
riage. 

It will be guessed that after the events that led to their 
union Lysbeth took little pleasure in her husband's society. 
She was not one of those women who can acquiesce in 
marriage by fraud or capture, and even learn to love the 
hand which snared them. So it came about that to Mont- 



102 LTSBETH 

alvo she spoke very seldom ; indeed after the first week of 
marriage she only saw him on rare occasions. Very soon 
he found out that his presence was hateful to her, and 
turned her detestation to account with his usual cleverness. 
In other words, Lysbeth bought freedom by parting with 
her property in fact, a regular tariff was established, so 
many guilders for a week's liberty, so many for a month's. 

This was an arrangement that suited Montalvo well 
enough, for in his heart he was terrified of this woman, 
whose beautiful face had frozen into a perpetual mask of 
watchful hatred. He could not forget that frightful curse 
which had taken deep root in his superstitious mind, and 
already seemed to flourish there, for it was true that since 
she spoke it he had never known a quiet hour. How could 
he when he was haunted night and day by the fear lest his 
wife should murder him ? 

Surely, if ever Death looked out of a woman's eyes it 
looked out of hers, and it seemed to him that such a deed 
might trouble her conscience little ; that she might con- 
sider it in the light of an execution, and not as a murder. 
Bah ! he could not bear to think of it. What would it be 
to drink his wine one day and then feel a hand of fire grip- 
ping at his vitals because poison had been set within the 
cup ; or, worse still, if anything could be worse, to wake at 
night and find a stiletto point grating against his backbone ? 
Little wonder that Montalvo slept alone and was always 
careful to lock his door. 

He need not have taken such precautions ; whatever her 
eyes might say, Lysbeth had no intention of killing this 
man. In that prayer of hers she had, as it were, placed the 
matter in the hand of a higher Power, and there she meant 
to leave it, feeling quite convinced that although vengeance 
might tarry it would fall at last. As for her money, he 
could have it. From the beginning her instinct told her 
that her husband's object was not amorous, but purely 






HENDRIK BRANT HAS A VISITOR 103 

mercenary, a fact of which she soon had plentiful proof, 
and her great, indeed her only hope was that when the 
wealth was gone he would go too. An otter, says the 
Dutch proverb, does not nest in a dry dyke. 

But oh ! what months those were, what dreadful months ! 
From time to time she saw her husband when he wanted 
cash and every night she heard him returning home, often 
with unsteady steps. Twice or thrice a week also she was 
commanded to prepare a luxurious meal for himself and 
some six or eight companions, to be followed by a gambling 
party at which the stakes ruled high. Then in the morn- 
ing, before he was up, strange people would arrive, Jews 
some of them, and wait till they could see him, or catch 
him as he slipped from the house by a back way. These 
men, Lysbeth discovered, were duns seeking payment of 
old debts. Under such constant calls her fortune, which 
if substantial was not great, melted rapidly. Soon the 
ready money was gone, then the shares in certain ships 
were sold, then the land and the house itself were mort- 
gaged. 

So the time went on. 

Almost immediately after his refusal by Lysbeth, Dirk 
van Goorl had left Leydeu, and returned to Alkmaar, 
where his father lived. His cousin and friend, however, 
Hendrik Brant, remained there studying the jeweller's art 
under the great master of filigree work, who was known as 
Petrus. One morning, as Hendrik was sitting at break- 
fast in his lodging, it was announced that a woman who 
would not give her name, wished to see him. Moved 
more by curiosity than by any other reason, he ordered her 
to be admitted. When she entered he was sorry, for in the 
gaunt person and dark-eyed face he recognised one against 
whom he had been warned by the elders of his church as a 
spy, a creature who was employed by the papal inquisitors 



104 LYSBETH 

to get up cases against heretics, and who was known as 
Black Meg. 

" What is your business with me ? " Brant asked sternly. 

" Nothing to your hurt, worthy Heer, believe me, nothing 
to your hurt. Oh ! yes, I know that tales are told against 
me, who only earn an honest living in an honest way, to 
keep my poor husband, who is an imbecile. Once alas ! he 
followed that mad Anabaptist fool, John of Leyden, the 
fellow who set up as a king, and said that men might have 
as many wives as they wished. That was what sent my hus- 
band silly, but, thanks be to the Saints, he has repented of 
his errors and is reconciled to the Church and Christian 
marriage, and now, I, who have a forgiving nature, am 
obliged to support him." 

" Your business ? " said Brant. 

" Mynheer," she answered, dropping her husky voice, 
" you are a friend of the Countess Montalvo, she who was 
Lysbeth van Hout ? " 

" No, I am acquainted with her, that is all." 

"At least you are a friend of the Heer Dirk van Goorl 
who has left this town for Alkmaar ; he who was her 
lover?" 

"Yes, I am his cousin, but he is not the lover of any 
married woman." 

"No, no, of course not; love cannot look through a 
bridal veil, can it ? Still, you are his friend, and, therefore, 
perhaps, her friend, and she isn't happy." 

" Indeed ? I know nothing of her present life : she 
must reap the field which she has sown. That door is 
shut." 

"Not altogether perhaps. I thought it might interest 
Dirk van Goorl to learn that it is still ajar." 

" I don't see why it should. Fish merchants are not 
interested in rotten herrings ; they write off the loss and 
send out the smack for a fresh cargo." 



HENDRIK BRANT HAS A VISITOR 105 

" The first fish we catch is ever the finest, Mynheer, and 
if Ave haven't quite caught it, oh ! what a fine fish is 
that." 

" I have no time to waste in chopping riddles. What is 
your errand ? Tell it, or leave it untold, but be quick." 

Black Meg leant forward, and the hoarse voice sank to a 
cavernous whisper. 

" What will you give me," she asked, " if I prove to you 
that the Captain Montalvo is not married at all to Lysbeth 
vanllout?" 

" It does not much matter what I would give you, for I 
saw the thing done in the Groote Kerk yonder." 

"Things are not always done that seem to be done." 

"Look here, woman, I have had enough of this," and 
Brant pointed to the door. 

Black Meg did not stir, only she produced a packet from 
the bosom of her dress and laid it on the table. 

" A man can't have two wives living at once, can he ? " 

"No, I suppose not that is, legally." 

" Well, if I show you that Montalvo has two wives, how 
much?" 

Brant became interested. He hated Montalvo ; he 
guessed, indeed he knew something of the part which the 
man had played in this infamous affair, and knew also 
that it would be a true kindness to Lysbeth to rid her of 
him. 

"If you proved it," he said, "let us say two hundred 
florins." 

" It is not enough, Mynheer." 

" It is all I have to offer, and, mind you, what I promise 
I pay." 

"Ah! yes, the other promises and doesn't pay the 
rogue, the rogue," she added, striking a bony fist upon the 
table. " Well, I agree, and I ask no bond, for you mer- 
chant folk are not like cavaliers, your word is as good as 



106 LYSBETH 

your paper. Now read these," and she opened the packet 
and pushed its contents towards him. 

With the exception of two miniatures, which he placed 
upon one side, they were letters written in Spanish and in 
a very delicate hand. Brant knew Spanish well, and in 
twenty minutes he had read them all. They proved to be 
epistles from a lady who signed herself Juanita de Mont- 
alvo, written to the Count Juan de Montalvo, whom she 
addressed as her husband. Very piteous documents they 
were also, telling a tale that need not be set out here of 
heartless desertion ; pleading for the writer's sake and for 
the sake of certain children, that the husband and father 
would return to them, or at least remit them means to live, 
for they, his wife and family, were sunk in great poverty. 

"All this is sad enough," said Brant with a gesture of 
disgust as he glanced at the miniature of the lady and her 
children, " but it proves nothing. How are we to know 
that she is the man's wife ? " 

Black Meg put her hand into the bosom of her dress and 
produced another letter dated not more than three months 
ago. It was, or purported to be- written by the priest of 
the village where the lady lived, and was addressed to the 
Captain the Count Juan de Montalvo at Leyden. In sub- 
stance this epistle was an earnest appeal to the noble count 
from one who had a right to speak, as the man who had 
christened him, taught him, and married him to his wife, 
either to return to her or to forward her the means to join 
him. "A dreadful rumour," the letter ended, "has 
reached us here in Spain that you have taken to wife a 
Dutch lady at Leyden named Van Hout, but this I do not 
believe, since never could you have committed such a crime 
before God and man. Write, write at once, my son, and 
disperse this black cloud of scandal which is gathering on 
your honoured and ancient name." 

" How did you come by these, woman ? " asked Brant. 



HENDRIK BRANT HAS A VISITOR 107 

"The last I had from a priest who brought it from 
Spain. I met him at The Hague, and offered to deliver the 
letter, as he had no safe means of sending it to Leyden. 
The others and the pictures I stole out of Montalvo's room." 

"Indeed, most honest merchant, and what might you 
have been doing in his Excellency's room ? " 

"I will tell you," she answered, "for, as he never gave 
me my pay, my tongue is loosed. He wished for evidence 
that the Heer Dirk van Q-oorl was a heretic, and em- 
ployed me to find it." 

Brant's face hardened, and he became more watchful. 

" Why did he wish such evidence ? " 

" To use it to prevent the marriage of Jufvrouw Lysbeth 
with the Heer Dirk van Goorl." 

"How?" 

Meg shrugged her shoulders. " By telling his secret to 
her so that she might dismiss him, I suppose, or more 
likely by threatening that, if she did not, he would hand 
her lover over to the Inquisitors." 

" I see. And did you get the evidence ? " 

" Well, I hid in the Heer Dirk's bedroom one night, and 
looking through a door saw him and another young man, 
whom I do not know, reading the Bible, and praying to- 
gether." 

" Indeed ; what a terrible risk you must have run, for 
had those young men, or either of them, chanced to catch 
you, it is quite certain that you would not have left that 
room alive. You know these heretics think that they are 
justified in killing a spy at sight, and, upon my word, I 
do not blame them. In fact, my good woman," and he 
leaned forward and looked her straight in the eyes, "were 
I in the same position I would have knocked you on the 
head as readily as though you had been a rat." 

Black" Meg shrank back, and turned a little blue about 
the lips. 



108 LYSBETH 

" Of course, Mynheer, of course, it is a rough game, and 
the poor agents of God must take their risks. Not that 
the other young man had any cause to fear. I wasn't paid 
to watch him, and as I have said I neither know nor care 
who he is." 

" Well, who can say, that may be fortunate for you, espe- 
cially if he should ever come to know or to care who you 
are. But it is no affair of ours, is it? Now, give me 
those letters. What, do you want your money first ? Very 
well," and, rising, Brant went to a cupboard and produced 
a small steel box, which he unlocked ; and, having taken 
from it the appointed sum, locked it again. " There you 
are," he said ; "oh, you needn't stare at the cupboard ; 
that box won't live there after to-day, or anywhere in this 
house. By the way, I understand that Montalvo never 
paid you." 

"Not a stiver," she answered with a sudden access of 
rage ; " the low thief, he promised to pay me after his 
marriage, but instead of rewarding her who put him in that 
warm nest, I tell you that already he has squandered every 
florin of the noble lady's money in gambling and satisfying 
such debts as he was obliged to, so that to-day I believe 
that she is almost a beggar." 

" I see," said Brant, " and now good morning, and look 
you, if we should chance to meet in the town, you will un- 
derstand that I do not know you." 

"I understand, Mynheer," said Black Meg with a grin 
and vanished. 

When she had gone Brant rose and opened the window. 
"Bah !" he said, "the air is poisoned. But I think I 
frightened her, I think that I have nothing to fear. Yet 
who can tell ? My God ! she saw me reading the Bible, and 
Montalvo knows it ! Well, it is some time ago now, and I 
must take my chance." 

Ah ! who could tell indeed ? 



HENDRIK BRANT HAS A VISITOR 109 

Then, taking the miniatures and documents with him, 
Brant started to call upon his friend and co-religionist, the 
Heer Pieter van de Werff, Dirk van Goorl's friend, and 
Lysbeth's cousin, a young man for whose judgment and 
abilities he had a great respect. As a result of this visit, 
these two gentlemen left that afternoon for Brussels, the 
seat of Government, where they had very influential friends. 

It will be sufficient to tell the upshot of their visit. Just 
at that time the Government of the Netherlands wished 
for its own reasons to stand well with the citizen class, and 
when those in authority learned of the dreadful fraud that 
had been played off upon a lady of note who was known to 
be a good Catholic, for the sole object of robbing her of her 
fortune, there was indignation in high places. Indeed, an 
order was issued, signed by a hand which could not be re- 
sisted so deeply was one woman moved by the tale of 
another's wrong that the Count Montalvo should be seized 
and put upon his trial, just as though he were any common 
Netherland malefactor. Moreover, since he was a man 
with many enemies, no one was found to stand between 
him and the Eoyal decree. 

Three days later Montalvo made an announcement to 
Lysbeth. For a wonder he was supping at home alone with 
his wife, whose presence he had commanded. She obeyed 
and attended, sitting at the further end of the table, whence 
she rose from time to time to wait upon him with her own 
hands. Watching him the while with her quiet eyes, she 
noticed that he was ill at ease. 

"Cannot you speak?" he asked at last and savagely. 
" Do you think it is pleasant for a man to sit opposite a 
woman who looks like a corpse in her coffin till he wishes 
she were one? " 

"So do I," answered Lysbeth, and again there was 
silence. 



110 LYSBETH 

Presently she broke it. "What do you want?" she 
asked. " More money ? " 

" Of course I want money," he answered furiously. 

" Then there is none ; everything has gone, and the 
notary tells me that no one will advance another stiver on 
the house. All my jewellery is sold also." 

He glanced at her hand. " You have still that ring," he 
said. 

She looked at it. It was a hoop of gold set with emer- 
alds of considerable value which her husband had given her 
before marriage and always insisted upon her wearing. In 
fact, it had been bought with the money which he borrowed 
from Dirk van Goorl. 

"Take it," she said, smiling for the first time, and 
drawing off the ring she passed it over to him. He turned 
his head aside as he stretched his hand towards the trinket 
lest his face should betray the shame which even he must 
feel. 

"If your child should be a son," he muttered, "tell 
him that his father had nothing but a piece of advice to 
leave him ; that he should never touch a dice-box." 

" Are you going away then ? " she asked. 

" For a week or two I must. I have been warned that a 
difficulty has arisen, about which I need not trouble you. 
Doubtless you will hear of it soon enough, and though it 
is not true, I must leave Leyden until the thing blows 
over. In fact I am going now. " 

" You are about to desert me," she answered ; " having 
got all my money, I say that you are going to desert me 
who am thus! I see it in your face." 

Montalvo turned away and pretended not to hear. 
" Well, thank God for it," Lysbeth added, " only I wish 
that you could take your memory and everything else of 
yours with you." 

As these bitter words passed her lips the door opened, 



HENDRIK BRANT HAS A VISITOR 111 

and there entered one of his own subalterns, followed by 
four soldiers and a man in a lawyer's robe. 

" What is this? " asked Montalvo furiously. 

The subaltern saluted as he entered : 

" My captain, forgive me, but I act under orders, and 
they are to arrest you alive, or," he added significantly, 
"dead." 

" Upon what charge ? " asked Montalvo. 

" Here, notary, you had best read the charge," said the 
subaltern, " but perhaps the lady would like to retire first," 
he added awkwardly. 

"No," answered Lysbeth, "it might concern me." 

"Alas! Sefiora, I fear it does," put in the notary. 
Then he began to read the document, which was long and 
legal. But she was quick to understand. Before ever it 
was done Lysbeth knew that she was not the lawful wife of 
Count Juan de Montalvo, and that he was to be put upon 
his trial for his betrayal of her and the trick he had played 
the Church. So she was free free, and overcome by that 
thought she staggered, fell, and swooned away. 

When her eyes opened again, Montalvo, officer, notary, 
and soldiers, all had vanished. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE MARE'S STABLE 

Lysbeth's reason returned to her in that empty 
room, her first sense was one of wild exultation. She was 
free, she was not Montalvo's wife, never again could she be 
obliged to see him, never again could she be forced to en- 
dure the contamination of his touch that was her thought. 
She was sure that the story was true ; were it not true who 
could have moved the authorities to take action against 
him? Moreover, now that she had the key, a thousand 
things were explained, trivial enough in themselves, each 
of them, but in their sum amounting to proof positive of 
his guilt. Had he not spoken of some entanglement in 
Spain and of children ? Had he not in his sleep but it 
was needless to remember all these things. She was free ! 
She was free ! and there on the table still lay the symbol 
of her bondage, the emerald ring that was to give him the 
means of flight, a flight from this charge which he knew 
was hanging over him. She took it up, dashed it to the 
ground and stamped upon it. Next she fell upon her knees, 
praising and blessing God, and then, worn out, crept away 
to rest. 

The morning came, the still and beautiful autumn morn- 
ing, but now all her exultation had left her, and Lysbeth 
was depressed and heavy hearted. She rose and assisted 
the one servant who remained in the house to prepare their 
breakfast, taking no heed of the sidelong glances that the 
woman cast at her. Afterwards she went to the market to 
spend some of her last florins in necessaries. Here and in 
the streets she became aware that she was the object of 



THE MARE'S STABLE 113 

remark, for people nudged each other and stared at her. 
Moreover, as she hurried home appalled, her quick ear 
caught the conversation of two coarse women while they 
walked behind her. 

" She's got it now," said one. 

"Serve her right, too," answered the other, "for run- 
ning after and marrying a Spanish don." 

"Marrying?" broke in the first, "it was the best that 
she could do. She couldn't stop to ask questions. Some 
corpses must be buried quickly. ' ' 

Glancing behind her, Lysbeth saw the creature nip her 
nostrils with her fingers, as though to shut out an evil 
smell. 

Then she could bear it no longer, and turned upon 
them. 

"You are evil slanderers," she said, and walked away 
swiftly, pursued by the sound of their loud, insulting 
laughter. 

At the house she was told that two men were waiting to 
see her. They proved to be creditors clamouring for large 
sums of money, which she could not pay. Lysbeth told 
them that she knew nothing of the matter. Thereupon 
they showed her her own writing at the foot of deeds, 
and she remembered that she had signed more things than 
she chose to keep count of, everything indeed that the man 
who called himself her husband put before her, if only to 
win an hour of blessed freedom from his presence. At 
length the duns went away vowing that they would have 
their money if they dragged the bed from under her. 

After that came loneliness and silence. No friend ap- 
peared to cheer her. Indeed, she had no friends left, for 
by her husband's command she had broken off her acquaint- 
ance with all who after the strange circumstances connected 
with her marriage were still inclined to know her. He 
said that he would have no chattering Dutch vrouws about 
8 



114 LYSBETH 

the house, and they said and believed that the Countess de 
Montalvo had become too proud to associate with those of 
her own class and people. 

Midday came and she could eat no food ; indeed, she 
had touched none for twenty-four hours ; her gorge rose 
against it, although in her state she needed food. Now 
the shame of her position began to come home to Lysbeth. 
She was a wife and no wife ; soon she must bear the bur- 
den of motherhood, and oh ! what would that child be ? 
And what would she be, its mother? "What, too, would 
Dirk think of her? Dirk, for whom she had done and 
suffered all these things. Through the long afternoon 
hours she lay upon her bed thinking such thoughts as 
these till at length her mind gave and Lysbeth grew light- 
headed. Her brain became a chaos, a perfect hell of dis- 
torted imaginations. 

Then out of its turmoil and confusion rose a vision and 
a desire ; a vision of peace and a desire for rest. But 
what rest was there for her except the rest of death ? Well, 
why not die ? God would forgive her, the Mother of God 
would plead for her who was shamed and broken-hearted 
and unfit to live. Even Dirk would think kindly of her 
when she was dead, though, doubtless, now if he met her 
he would cover his eyes with his hand. She was burning 
hot and she was thirsty. How cool the water would be on 
this fevered night. What could be better than to slip into 
it and slowly let it close above her poor aching head ? She 
would go out and look at the water; in that, at any rate, 
there could be no harm. 

She wrapped herself in a long cloak and drew its hood 
over her head. Then she slipped from the house and stole 
like a ghost through the darkling streets and out of the 
Maren or Sea Poort, where the guard let her pass thinking 
that she was a country woman returning to her village. Now 
the moon was rising, and by the light of it Lysbeth recog- 



THE MARE'S STABLE 115 

nised the place. Here was the spot where she had stood on 
the day of the ice carnival, when that woman who was called 
Martha the Mare, and who said that she had known her 
father, had spoken to her. On that water she had galloped 
in Montalvo's sledge, and up yonder canal the race was run. 
She followed along its banks, remembering the reedy mere 
some miles away spotted with islets that were only visited 
from time to time by fishermen and wild-fowlers; the great 
Haarlemer Mere which covered many thousands of acres of 
ground. That mere she felt sure must look very cool and 
beautiful on such a night as this, and the wind would 
whisper sweetly among the tall bulrushes which fringed its 
banks. 

On Lysbeth went and on ; it was a long, long walk, 
but at last she came there, and, oh ! the place was sweet 
and vast and lonely. For so far as her eye could reach 
in the light of the low moon there was nothing but 
glimmering water broken here and there by the reed- 
wreathed islands. Hark! how the frogs croaked and the 
bitterns boomed among the rushes. Look where the wild 
ducks swam leaving behind them broad trails of silver as 
their breasts broke the surface of the great mere into rip- 
pling lines. 

There, on an island, not a bowshot from her, grew tufts of 
a daisy-like marsh bloom, white flowers such as she remem- 
ered gathering when she was a child. A desire came upon 
her to pluck some of these flowers, and the water was shal- 
low ; surely she could wade to the island, or if not what 
did it matter ? Then she could turn to the bank again, or 
she might stay to sleep a while in the water ; what did it 
matter ? She stepped from the bank how sweet and cool 
it felt to her feet ! Now it was up to her knees, now it 
reached her middle, and now the little wavelets beat against 
her breast. But she would not go back, for there ahead of 
her was the island, and the white flowers were so close that 



116 LYSBETH 

she could count them, eight upon one bunch and twelve 
upon the next. Another step and the water struck her in 
the face, one more and it closed above her head. She rose, 
and a low cry broke from her lips. 

Then, as in a dream, Lysbeth saw a skiff glide out 
from among the rushes before her. She saw also a strange, 
mutilated face, which she remembered dimly, bending 
over the edge of the boat, and a long, brown hand stretched 
out to clasp her, while a hoarse voice bade her keep still 
and fear nothing. 

After this came a sound of singing in her ears and 
darkness. 

When Lysbeth woke again she found herself lying upon 
the ground, or rather upon a soft mattress of dry reeds 
and aromatic grasses. Looking round her she saw that she 
was in a hut, reed-roofed and plastered with thick mud. 
In one corner of this hut stood a fireplace with a chimney 
artfully built of clay, and on the fire of turfs boiled an 
earthen pot. Hanging from the roof by a string of twisted 
grass was a fish, fresh caught, a splendid pike, and near to 
it a bunch of smoked eels. Over her also was thrown a 
magnificent rug of otter skins. Noting these things, she 
gathered that she must be in the hovel of some fisherman. 

Now by degrees the past came back to Lysbeth, and she 
remembered her parting with the man who called himself 
her husband ; remembered also her moonlight flight and 
how she had waded out into the waters of the great mere 
to pluck the white flowers, and how, as they closed above 
her head a hand had been stretched out to save her. Lys- 
beth remembered, and remembering, she sighed aloud. 
The sound of her sighing seemed to attract the attention of 
some one who was listening outside the hut ; at any rate a 
rough door was opened or pushed aside and a figure entered. 

" Are you awake, lady ? " asked a hoarse voice. 






THE HARE'S STABLE 117 

" Yes/' answered Lysbeth, " but tell me, how did I come 
here, and who are you ? " 

The figure stepped back BO that the light from the open 
door fell full upon it. " Look, Carolus van Hout's daugh- 
ter and Juan Montalvo's wife ; those who have seen me 
once do not forget me." 

Lysbeth sat up on the bed and stared at the gaunt, pow- 
erful form, the deep-set grey eyes, the wide-spread nostrils, 
the scarred, high cheek-bones, the teeth made prominent by 
some devil's work upon the lips, and the grizzled lock of 
hair that hung across the forehead. In an instant she 
knew her. 

" You are Martha the Mare," she said. 

" Yes, I am the Mare, none other, and you are in the 
Mare's stable. What has he been doing to you, that 
Spanish dog, that you came last night to ask the Great 
Water to hide you and your shame ? " 

Lysbeth made no answer ; the story seemed hard to begin 
with this strange woman. Then Martha went on : 

"What did I tell you, Lysbeth van Hout? Did I not 
say that your blood should warn you against the Spaniards ? 
Well, well, you saved me from the ice and I have saved 
you from the water. Ah ! who was it that led me to row 
round by that outer isle last night because I could not 
sleep ? But what does it matter ; God willed it so, and 
here you lie in the Mare's stable. Nay, do not answer me, 
first you must eat." 

Then, going to the pot, she took it from the fire, pour- 
ing its contents into an earthen basin, and, at the smell 
of them, for the first time for days Lysbeth felt hungry. 
Of what that stew was compounded she never learned, but 
she ate it to the last spoonful and was thankful, while 
Martha, seated on the ground beside her, watched her with 
delight, from time to time stretching out a long, thin hand 
to touch the brown hair that hung about her shoulders. 



118 LYSBETH 

" Come out and look," said Martha when her guest had 
done eating. And she led her through the doorway of 
the hut. 

Lysbeth gazed round her, but in truth there was not 
much to see. The hut itself was hidden away in a little 
clump of swamp willows that grew upon a mound in the 
midst of a marshy plain, broken here and there by patches 
of reed and bulrushes. Walking across this plain for a 
hundred yards or so, they came to more reeds, and in them 
a boat hidden cunningly, for here was the water of the lake, 
and, not fifty paces away, what seemed to be the shore of 
an island. The Mare bade her get into the boat and rowed 
her across to this island, then round it to another, and 
thence to another and yet another. 

"Now tell me," she said, "upon which of them is my 
stable built?" 

Lysbeth shook her head helplessly. 

" You cannot tell, no, nor any living man ; I say that 
no man lives who could find it, save I myself, who know 
the path there by night or by day. "Look," and she 
pointed to the vast surface of the mere, " on this great sea 
are thousands of such islets, and before they find me the 
Spaniards must search them all, for here upon the lonely wa- 
ters no spies or hound will help them." Then she began to 
row again without even looking round, and presently they 
were in the clump of reeds from which they had started. 

" I must be going home," faltered Lysbeth. 

" No," answered Martha, " it is too late, you have slept 
long. Look, the sun is westering fast, this night you must 
stop with me. Oh! do not be afraid, my fare is rough, 
but it is sweet and fresh and plenty ; fish from the mere as 
much as you will, for who can catch them better than I ? 
And water-fowl that I snare, yes, and their eggs; moreover, 
dried flesh and bacon which I get from the mainland, for 
there I have friends whom sometimes I meet at night." 



THE MARE'S STABLE 119 

So Lysbeth yielded, for the great peace of this lake pleased 
her. Oh ! after all that she had gone through it was like 
heaven to watch the sun sinking towards the quiet water, to 
hear the wild-fowl call, to see the fish leap and the hal- 
cyons flash by, and above all to be sure that by nothing 
short of a miracle could this divine silence, broken only of 
Nature's voices, be defiled with the sound of the hated 
accents of the man who had ruined and betrayed her. Yes, 
she was weary, and a strange unaccustomed languor crept 
over her ; she would rest there this night also. 

So they went back to the hut, and made ready their 
evening meal, and as she fried the fish over the fire of peats, 
verily Lysbeth found herself laughing like a girl again. 
Then they ate it with appetite, and after it was done, 
Mother Martha prayed aloud; yes, and without fear, al- 
though she knew Lysbeth to be a Catholic, read from her 
one treasure, a Testament, crouching there in the light of 
the fire and saying : 

" See, lady, what a place this is for a heretic to bide in. 
Where else may a woman read from the Bible and fear 
no spy or priest ? " Eemembering a certain story, Lysbeth 
shivered at her words. 

"Now," said the Mare, when she had finished reading, 
" tell me before you sleep, what it was that brought you into 
the waters of the Haarlemer Mere, and what that Spanish 
man has done to you. Do not be afraid, for though I am 
mad, or so they say, I can keep counsel, and between you and 
me are many bonds, Carolus van Hout's daughter, some of 
which you know and see, and some that you can neither 
know nor see, but which God will weave in His own season." 

Lysbeth looked at the weird countenance, distorted and 
made unhuman by long torment of body and mind, and 
found in it something to trust ; yes, even signs of that 
sympathy which she so sorely needed. So she told her all 
the tale from the first word of it to the last. 



120 LYSBETH 

The Mare listened in silence, for no story of evil perpe- 
trated by a Spaniard seemed to move or astonish her, only 
when Lysbeth had done, she said : 

"Ah! child, had you but known of me, and where to 
find me, you should have asked my aid." 

"Why, mother, what could you have done?" answered 
Lysbeth. 

"Done? I would have followed him by night until I 
found my chance in some lonely place, and there I would 

have " Then she stretched out her bony hand to the 

red light of the fire, and Lysbeth saw that in it was a 
knife. 

She sank back aghast. 

" Why are you frightened, my pretty lady ? " asked the 
Mare. "I tell you that I live on for only one thing to 
kill Spaniards, yes, priests first and then the others. Oh! 
I have a long count to pay ; for every time that he was tor- 
tured a life, for every groan he uttered at the stake a life ; 
yes, so many for the father and half as many for the son. 
Well, I shall live to be old, I know that I shall live to be 
old, and the count will be discharged, ay, to the last stiver." 

As she spoke, the outlawed Water Wife had risen, and 
the flare of the fire struck full upon her. It was an awful 
face that Lysbeth beheld by the light of it, full of fierceness 
and energy, the face of an inspired avenger, dread and un- 
natural, yet not altogether repulsive. Indeed, that counte- 
nance was such as an imaginative artist might give to one 
of the beasts in the Book of Revelation. Amazed and ter- 
rified, Lysbeth said nothing. 

"I frighten you, gentle one," went on the Mare, "you 
who, although you have suffered, are still full of the milk 
of human kindness. Wait, woman, wait till they have 
murdered the man you love, till your heart is like my heart, 
and you also live on, not for love's sake, not for life's sake, 
but to be a Sword, a Sword, a Sword in the hand of God ! " 



THE MARE'S STABLE 121 

" Cease, I pray you," said Lysbeth in a low voice; " I am 
faint, I am ill." 

Ill she was indeed, and before morning there, in that 
lonely hovel on the island of the mere, a son was born to 
her. 

When she was strong enough her nurse spoke : 

" Will you keep the brat, or shall I kill it ? " she asked. 

" How can I kill my child ? " said Lysbeth. 

" It is the Spaniard's child also, and remember the curse 
you told me of, your own curse uttered on this thing before 
ever you were married ? If it lives that curse shall cling 
to it, and through it you, too, shall be accursed. Best let 
me kill it and have done." 

"How can I kill my own child? Touch it not," an- 
swered Lysbeth sullenly. 

So the black-eyed boy lived and throve. 

Somewhat slowly, lying there in the island hut, Lysbeth 
won back her strength. The Mare, or Mother Martha, as 
Lysbeth had now learned to call her, tended her as few 
mid wives would have done. Food, too, she had in plenty, 
for Martha snared the fowl and caught the fish, or she made 
visits to the mainland and thence brought eggs and milk 
and flesh, which, so she said, the boors of that country gave 
her as much as she wanted of them. Also, to while away 
the hours, she would read to her out of the Testament, 
and from that reading Lysbeth learnt many things which 
until then she had not known. Indeed, before it was done 
with Catholic though she was she began to wonder in 
what lay the wickedness of these heretics, and how it came 
about that they were worthy of death and torment, since, 
sooth to say, in this Book she could find no law to which 
their lives and doctrine seemed to give offence. 

Thus it happened that Martha, the fierce, half-crazy 



122 LYSBETH 

water-dweller, sowed the seed in Lysbeth's heart that was to 
bear fruit in due seasou. 

When three weeks had gone by and Lysbeth was on her 
feet again, though as yet scarcely strong enough to travel, 
Martha told her that she had business which would keep 
her from home a night, but what the business was she re- 
fused to say. Accordingly on a certain afternoon, having 
left good store of all things to Lysbeth's hand, the Mare de- 
parted in her skiff, nor did she return till after midday on 
the morrow. Now Lysbeth talked of leaving the island, 
but Martha would not suffer it, saying that if she desired 
to go she must swim, and indeed when Lysbeth went to 
look she found that the boat had been hidden elsewhere. 
So, nothing loth, she stayed on, and in the crisp autumn 
air her health and beauty came back to her, till she was 
once more much as she had been before the day when she 
went sledging with Juan de Montalvo. 

On a November morning, leaving her infant in the hut 
with Martha, who had sworn to her on the Bible that she 
would not harm it, Lysbeth walked to the extremity of the 
island. During the night the first sharp frost of late au- 
tumn had fallen, making a thin film of ice upon the sur- 
face of the lake, which melted rapidly as the sun grew high. 
The air too was very clear and calm, and among the reeds, 
now turning golden at their tips, the finches flew and 
chirped, forgetful that winter was at hand. So sweet and 
peaceful was the scene that Lysbeth, also forgetful of many 
things, surveyed it with a kind of rapture. She knew not 
why, but her heart was happy that morning ; it was as 
though a dark cloud had passed from her life ; as though 
the blue skies of peace and joy were spread about her. 
Doubtless other clouds might appear upon the horizon ; 
doubtless in their season they would appear, but she felt 
that this horizon was as yet a long way off, and meanwhile 
above her bent the tender sky, serene and sweet and happy. 



THE MARE'S STABLE 123 

Upon the crisp grass behind her suddenly she heard a 
footfall, a new footfall, not that of the long, stealthy stride 
of Martha, who was called the Mare, and swung round 
upon her heel to meet it. 

Oh, God ! Who was this ? Oh, God ! there before her 
stood Dirk van Goorl. Dirk, and no other than Dirk, 
unless she dreamed, Dirk with his kind face wreathed in a 
happy smile, Dirk with his arms outstretched towards her. 
Lysbeth said nothing, she could not speak, only she stood 
still gazing, gazing, gazing, and always he came on, 
till now his arms were round her. Then she sprang 
back. 

"Do not touch me," she cried, "remember what I am 
and why I stay here." 

"I know well what you are, Lysbeth," he answered 
slowly ; " you are the holiest and purest woman who ever 
walked this earth ; you are an angel upon this earth ; you 
are the woman who gave her honour to save the man she 
loved. Oh ! be silent, be silent, I have heard the story ; I 
know it every word, and here I kneel before you, and, next 
to my God, I worship you, Lysbeth, I worship you." 

"But the child," she murmured, "it lives, and it is 
mine and the man's." 

Dirk's face hardened a little, but he only answered : 

" We must bear our burdens ; you have borne yours, I 
must bear mine," and he seized her hands and kissed them, 
yes, and the hem of her garment and kissed it also. 

So these two plighted their troth. 

Afterwards Lysbeth heard all the story. Montalvo had 
been put upon his trial, and, as it chanced, things went hard 
with him. Among his judges one was a great Netherlander 
lord, who desired to uphold the rights of his countrymen ; 
one was a high ecclesiastic, who was furious because of the 
fraud that had been played upon the Church, which had 
been trapped into celebrating a bigamous marriage ; and a 



124 LYSBETH 

third was a Spanish grandee, who, as it happened, knew 
the family of the first wife who had been deserted. 

Therefore, for the luckless Montalvo, when the case had 
been proved to the hilt against him by the evidence of the 
priest who brought the letter, of the wife's letters, and of 
the truculent Black Meg, who now found an opportunity 
of paying back "hot water for cold," there was little 
mercy. His character was bad, and it was said, moreover, 
that because of his cruelties and the shame she had suffered 
at his hands, Lysbeth van Hout had committed suicide. At 
least, this was certain, that she was seen running at night 
towards the Haarlemer Mere, and that after this, search 
as her friends would, nothing more could be heard of her. 

So, that an example might be made, although he writhed 
and fenced his best, the noble captain, Count Juan de 
Montalvo, was sent to serve for fourteen years in the galleys 
as a common slave. And there, for the while, was an end 
of him. 

There also was an end of the strange and tragic courtship 
of Dirk van Groorl and Lysbeth van Hout. 

Six months afterwards they were married, and by Dirk's 
wish took the child, who was christened Adrian, to live 
with them. A few months later Lysbeth entered the com- 
munity of the New Eeligion, and less than two years after 
her marriage a son was born to her, the hero of this story, 
who was named Foy. 

As it happened, she bore no other children. 



Boofc tbe Secotti> 

THE RIPENING 



Booh tbe Seconfc 
THE RIPENING 

CHAPTER IX 

ADRIAN, FOY, AND MARTIN THE BED 

MANY years had gone by since Lysbeth found her love 
again upon the island in the Haarlemer Mere. The son 
that she bore there was now a grown man, as was her second 
son, Foy, and her own hair showed grey beneath the lap- 
pets of her cap. 

Fast, fast wove the loom of G-od during those fateful 
years, and the web thereof was the story of a people's 
agony and its woof was dyed red with their blood. Edict 
had followed edict, crime had been heaped upon crime. 
Alva, like some inhuman and incarnate vengeance, had 
marched his army, quiet and harmless as is the tiger when he 
stalks his prey, across the fields of France. Now he was at 
Brussels, and already the heads of the Counts Egmont and 
Hoorn had fallen ; already the Blood Council was estab- 
lished and at its work. In the Low Countries law had 
ceased to exist, and there anything might happen however 
monstrous or inhuman. Indeed, with one decree of the 
Holy Office, confirmed by a proclamation of Philip of 
Spain, all the inhabitants of the Netherlands, three mil- 
lions of them, had been condemned to death. Men's minds 
were full of terror, for on every side were burnings and 
hangings and torturings. Without were fightings, within 
were fears, and none knew whom they could trust, since 



128 LYSBETH 

the friend of to-day might be the informer or judge of 
to-morrow. All this because they chose to worship God 
in their own fashion unaided by images and priests. 

Although so long a time had passed, as it chanced those 
personages with whom we have already made acquaintance 
in this history were still alive. Let us begin with two of 
them, one of whom we know and one of whom, although 
we have heard of him before, will require some introduction 
Dirk van Goorl and his son Foy. 

Scene an upper room above a warehouse overlooking 
the market-place of Leyden, a room with small windows and 
approached by two staircases ; time, a summer twilight. 
The faint light which penetrated into this chamber through 
the unshuttered windows, for to curtain them would have 
been to excite suspicion, showed that about twenty people 
had gathered there, among whom were one or two women. 
For the most part they were men of the better class, mid- 
dle-aged burghers of sober mien, some of whom stood 
about in knots, while others were seated upon stools and 
benches. At the end of the room addressing them was a 
man well on in middle life, with grizzled hair and beard, 
small and somewhat mean of stature, yet one through 
whose poor exterior goodness seemed to flow like light 
through some rough casement of horn. This was Jan 
Arentz, the famous preacher, by trade a basket-maker, a 
man who showed himself steadfast to the New Religion 
through all afflictions, and who was gifted with a spirit 
which could remain unmoved amidst the horrors of perhaps 
the most terrible persecution that Christians have suffered 
since the days of the Koman Emperors. He was preaching 
now and these people were his congregation. 

" I came not to bring peace but a sword," was his text, 
and certainly this night it was most appropriate 'and one 



ADRIAN, FOY, AND MARTIN THE RED 129 

easy of illustration. For there, on the very market-place 
beneath them, guarded by soldiers and surrounded with 
the rabble of the city, two members of his flock, men 
who a fortnight before had worshipped in that same 
room, at this moment were undergoing martyrdom by 
fire! 

Arentz preached patience and fortitude. He went back 
into recent history and told his hearers how he himself had 
passed a hundred dangers ; how he had been hunted like 
a wolf, how he had been tried, how he had escaped from 
prisons and from the swords of soldiers, even as St. Paul 
had done before him, and how yet he lived to minister to 
them this night. He told them that they must have no 
fear, that they must go on quite happy, quite confident, 
taking what it pleased God to send them, feeling that it 
would all be for the best ; yes, that even the worst would 
be for the best. What was the worst? Some hours of 
torment and death. And what lay beyond the death? 
Ah ! let them think of that. The whole world was but a 
brief and varying shadow, what did it matter how or when 
they walked out of that shadow into the perfect light? 
The sky was very black, but behind it the sun shone. 
They must look forward with the eye of faith ; perhaps 
the sufferings of the present generation were part of the 
scheme of things ; perhaps from the earth which they 
watered with their blood would spring the flower of free- 
dom, that glorious freedom in whose day all men would be 
able to worship their Creator responsible only to the Bible 
law and their own consciences, not to the dogmas or doc- 
trines of other men. 

As Arentz spoke thus, eloquently, sweetly, spoke like one 
inspired, the twilight deepened and the flare of those sac- 
rificial fires flickered on the window pane, and the mixed 
murmurs of the crowd of witnesses broke upon his listen- 
ers' ears. The preacher paused and looked down upon the 
9 



130 LYSBETH 

dreadful scene below, for from where he stood he could 
behold it all. 

"Mark is dead," he said, "and our dear brother, 
Andreas Jansen, is dying ; the executioners heap the fag- 
gots round him. You think it cruel, you think it piteous, 
but I say to you, No. I say that it is a holy and a glorious 
sight, for we witness the passing of souls to bliss. Breth- 
ren, let us pray for him who leaves us, and for ourselves 
who stay behind. Yes, and let us pray for those who slay 
him that know not what they do. "We watch his sufferings, 
but I tell you that Christ his Lord watches also ; Christ 
who hung upon the Cross, the victim of such men as these. 
He stands with him in the fire, His hand compasses him, 
His voice supports him. Brethren, let us pray." 

Then at his bidding every member of that little congre- 
gation knelt in prayer for the passing spirit of Andreas 
Jansen. 

Again Arentz looked through the window. 

" He dies! " he cried ; " a soldier has thrust him through 
with a pike in mercy, his head falls forward. Oh ! God, if 
it be Thy will, grant to us a sign." 

Some strange breath passed through that upper chamber, 
a cold breath which blew upon the brows of the worship- 
pers and stirred their hair, bringing with it a sense of the 
presence of Andreas Jansen, the martyr. Then, there 
upon the wall opposite to the window, at the very spot 
where their brother and companion, Andreas, saint and 
martyr, was wont to kneel, appeared the sign, or what they 
took to be a sign. Yes, there upon the whitewashed 
wall, reflected, mayhap, from the fires below, and showing 
clearly in the darkened room, shone the vision of a fiery 
cross. For a second it was seen. Then it was gone, but 
to every soul in this room the vision of that cross had 
brought its message ; to each a separate message, an indi- 
vidual inspiration, for in the light of it they read strange 



ADRIAN, FOY, AND MARTIN TEE RED 131 

lessons of life and death. The cross vanished and there 
was silence. 

"Brethren," said the voice of Arentz, speaking in the 
darkness, " you have seen. Through the fire and through 
the shadow, follow the Cross and fear not." 

The service was over, and below in the emptied market- 
place the executioners collected the poor calcined fragments 
of the martyrs to cast them with contumely and filthy jests 
into the darkling waters of the river. Now, one by one 
and two by two, the worshippers slipped away through some 
hidden door opening on an alley. Let us look at three of 
their number as they crept through bye streets back to a 
house on the Bree Straat with which we are acquainted, 
two of them walking in front and one behind. 

The pair were Dirk van G-oorl and his son Foy there 
was no mistaking their relationship. Save that he had 
grown somewhat portly and thoughtful, Dirk was the Dirk 
of five and twenty years ago, thickset, grey-eyed, bearded, 
a handsome man according to the Dutch standard, whose 
massive, kindly countenance betrayed the massive, kindly 
mind within. Very like him was his son Foy, only his eyes 
were blue instead of grey, and his hair was yellow. Though 
they seemed sad enough just now, these were merry and 
pleasant eyes, and the round, the somewhat childlike face 
was merry also, the face of a person who looked upon the 
bright side of things. 

There was nothing remarkable or distinguished about 
Foy's appearance, but from it the observer, who met him 
for the first time, received an impression of energy, hon- 
esty, and good-nature. In truth, such were apt to set him 
down as a sailor-man, who had just returned from a long 
journey, in the course of which he had come to the conclu- 
sion that this world was a pleasant place, and one well worth 
exploring. As Foy walked down the street with his quick 



132 LYSBETH 

and nautical gait, it was evident that even the solemn and 
dreadful scene which he had just experienced had not al- 
together quenched his cheery and hopeful spirit. Yet of 
all those who listened to the exhortation of the saint-like 
Arentz, none had laid its burden of faith and carelessness 
for the future to heart more entirely than Foy van Goorl. 

But of this power of looking on the bright side of things 
the credit must be given to his nature and not to his piety, 
for Foy could not be sad for long. Dum spiro, spero would 
have been his motto had he known Latin, and he did not 
mean to grow sorrowful over the prospect of being burnt, 
for instance until he found himself last to the stake. It 
was this quality of good spirits in a depressing and melan- 
choly age that made of Foy so extraordinarily popular a 
character. 

Behind these two followed a much more remarkable- 
looking personage, the Frisian, Martin Roos, or Red Martin, 
BO named from his hair, which was red to the verge of 
flame colour, and his beard of a like hue that hung almost 
to his breast. There was no other such beard in Leyden ; 
indeed the boys, taking advantage of his good-nature, would 
call to him as he passed, asking him if it was true that the 
storks nested in it every spring. This strange-looking man, 
who was now perhaps a person of forty years of age, for ten 
years or more had been the faithful servant of Dirk van 
Goorl, whose house he had entered under circumstances 
which shall be told of in their place. 

Any one glancing at Martin casually would not have said 
that he was a giant, and yet his height was considerable : 
to be accurate, when he stood upright, something over six 
feet three inches. The reason why he did not appear to be 
tall was that in truth his great bulk shortened him to the 
eye, and also because he carried himself ill, more from a 
desire to conceal his size than for any other reason. It was 
in girth of chest and limb that Martin was really remark- 



ADRIAN, FOY, AND MARTIN THE RED 183 

able, so much so that a short-armed man standing before 
him could not make his fingers touch behind his back. 
His face was fair as a girl's, and almost as flat as a full 
moon, for of nose he had little. Nature, indeed, had fur- 
nished him with one of ordinary, if not excessive size, but 
certain incidents in Martin's early career, which in our day 
would be designated as that of a prize-fighter, had caused it 
to spread about his countenance in an interesting and curi- 
ous fashion. His eyebrows, however, remained prominent. 
Beneath them appeared a pair of very large, round, and 
rather mild blue eyes, covered with thick white lids abso- 
lutely devoid of lashes, which eyes had a most unholy trick 
of occasionally taking fire when their owner was irritated. 
Then they could burn and blaze like lamps tied to a barge 
on a dark night, with an effect that was all the more alarm- 
ing because the rest of his countenance remained absolutely 
impassive. 

Suddenly while this little company went homewards a 
sound arose in the quiet street as of people running. In- 
stantly all three of them pressed themselves into the door- 
way of a house and crouched down. Martin lifted his ear 
and listened. 

" Three people," he whispered ; " a woman who flies and 
two men who follow." 

At that moment a casement was thrown open forty paces 
or so away, and a hand, bearing a torch, thrust out of it. 
By its light they saw the pale face of a lady speeding 
towards them, and after her two Spanish soldiers. 

" The Vrouw Andreas Jansen," whispered Martin again, 
" flying from two of the guard who burned her husband." 

The torch was withdrawn and the casement shut with a 
snap. In those days quiet burghers could not afford to be 
mixed up in street troubles, especially if soldiers had to do 
with them. Once more the place was empty and quiet, 
except for the sound of running feet. 



184 LYSBETH 

Opposite to the doorway the lady was overtaken. "Oh! 
let me go," she sobbed, " oh ! let me go. Is it not enough 
that you have killed my husband ? Why must I be hunted 
from my house thus ? " 

" Because you are so pretty, my dear," answered one of 
the brutes, " also you are rich. Catch hold of her, friend. 
Lord! how she kicks." 

Foy made a motion as though to start out of the door- 
way, but Martin pressed him back with the flat of his hand, 
without apparent effort, and yet so strongly that the young 
man could not move. 

"My business, masters," he muttered; "you would 
make a noise," and they heard his breath come thick. 

Now, moving with curious stealthiness for one of so great 
a bulk, Martin was out of the porch. By the summer star- 
light the watchers could see that, before they had caught 
sight of, or even heard, him, he had gripped the two sol- 
diers, small men, like most Spaniards, by the napes of their 
necks, one in either hand, and was grinding their faces to- 
gether. This, indeed, was evident, for his great shoulders 
worked visibly and their breastplates clicked as they touched. 
But the men themselves made no sound at all. Then Mar- 
tin seemed to catch them round the middle, and behold! 
in another second the pair of them had gone headlong into 
the canal, which ran down the centre of the street. 

" My God ! he has killed them," muttered Dirk. 

"And a good job, too, father," said Foy, "only I wish 
that I had shared in it." 

Martin's great form loomed in the doorway. "The 
Vrouw Jansen has fled away," he said, "and the street is 
quite quiet now, so I think that we had better be moving 
before any see us, my masters." 

Some days later the bodies of these Spanish soldiers were 
found with their faces smashed flat. It was suggested in 
explanation of this plight, that they had got drunk and 




BEHOLD ! . . . THE PAIR OF THEM HAD GONE HEADLONG INTO 
THE CANAL. 



ADRIAN, FOY, AND MARTIN THE RED 135 

while fighting together had fallen from the bridge on to 
the stonework of a pier. This version of their end found 
a ready acceptance, as it consorted well with the reputa- 
tions of the men. So there was no search or inquiry. 

" I had to finish the dogs," Martin explained apologeti- 
cally "may the Lord Jesus forgive me because I was 
afraid that they might know me again by my beard." 

"Alas! alas!" groaned Dirk, "what times are these. 
Say nothing of this dreadful matter to your mother, son, 
or to Adrian either." But Foy nudged Martin in the ribs 
and muttered, " Well done, old fellow, well done ! " 

After this experience, which the reader must remember 
was nothing extraordinary in those dark and dreadful days 
when neither the lives of men nor the safety of women 
especially Protestant men and women were things of much 
account, the three of them reached home without further 
incident, and quite unobserved. Arriving at the house, they 
entered it near the Watergate by a back door that led into 
the stableyard. It was opened by a woman whom they 
followed into a little room where a light burned. Here 
she turned and kissed two of them, Dirk first and then 
Foy. 

"Thank God that I see you safe," she said. "When- 
ever you go to the Meeting-place I tremble until I hear 
your footsteps at the door." 

"What's the use of that, mother?" said Foy. "Your 
fretting yourself won't make things better or worse." 

" Ah ! dear, how can I help it ? " she replied softly ; " we 
cannot all be young and cheerful, you know." 

"True, wife, true," broke in Dirk, "though I wish we 
could ; we should be lighter-hearted so," and he looked at 
her and sighed. 

Lysbeth van Goorl could no longer boast the beauty 
which was hers when first we met her, but she was still a 
sweet and graceful woman, her figure remaining almost as 



186 LYSBETH 

slim as it had been in girlhood. The grey eyes also retained 
their depth and fire, only the face was worn, though more 
by care and the burden of memories than with years. The 
lot of the loving wife and mother was hard indeed when 
Philip the King ruled in Spain and Alva was his prophet 
in the Netherlands. 

" Is it done ? " she asked. 

" Yes, wife, our brethren are now saints in Paradise, 
therefore rejoice." 

"It is very wrong/' she answered with a sob, "but I 
cannot. Oh! " she added with a sudden blaze of indigna- 
tion, "if He is just and good, why does God suffer His 
servants to be killed thus ? " 

" Perhaps our grandchildren will be able to answer that 
question," replied Dirk. 

"That poor Vrouw Jansen," broke in Lysbeth, "just 
married, and so young and pretty. I wonder what will 
become of her." 

Dirk and Foy looked at each other, and Martin, who 
was hovering about near the door, slunk back guiltily into 
the passage as though he had attempted to injure the Vrouw 
Jansen. 

" To-morrow we will look to it, wife. And now let us 
eat, for we are faint with hunger." 

Ten minutes later they were seated at their meal. The 
reader may remember the room ; it was that wherein Mont- 
alvo, ex-count and captain, made the speech which charmed 
all hearers on the night when he had lost the race at the 
ice-carnival. The same chandelier hung above them, some 
portion of the same plate, even, repurchased by Dirk, was 
on the table, but how different were the company and the 
feast! Aunt Clara, the fatuous, was long dead, and with 
her many of the companions of that occasion, some natu- 
rally, some by the hand of the executioner, while others 
had fled the land. Pieter van de Werff still lived, however, 



ADRIAN, FOY, AND MARTIN THE RED 137 

and though regarded with suspicion by the authorities, was 
a man of weight and honour in the town, but to-night he 
was not present there. The food, too, if ample was plain, 
not on account of the poverty of the household, for Dirk 
had prospered in his worldly affairs, being hard-working 
and skilful, and the head of the brass foundry to which in 
those early days he was apprenticed, but because in such 
times people thought little of the refinements of eating. 
When life itself is so doubtful, its pleasures and amuse- 
ments become of small importance. The ample waiting 
service of the maid Greta, who long ago had vanished none 
knew where, and her fellow domestics was now carried on 
by the man, Martin, and one old woman, since, as every 
menial might be a spy, even the richest employed few of 
them. In short all the lighter and more cheerful parts of 
life were in abeyance. 

" Where is Adrian ? " asked Dirk. 

" I do not know," answered Lysbeth. " I thought that 
perhaps " 

"No," replied her husband hastily; "he did not ac- 
company us ; he rarely does." 

"Brother Adrian likes to look underneath the spoon 
before he licks it," said Foy with his mouth full. 

The remark was enigmatic, but his parents seemed to 
understand what Foy meant ; at least it was followed by an 
uncomfortable and acquiescent silence. Just then Adrian 
came in, and as we have not seen him since, some four and 
twenty years ago, he made his entry into the world on the 
secret island in the Haarlemer Mere, here it may be as well 
to describe his appearance. 

He was a handsome young man, but of quite a different 
stamp to his half-brother, Foy, being tall, slight, and very 
graceful in figure ; advantages which he had inherited from 
his mother Lysbeth. In countenance, however, he differed 
from her so much that none would have guessed him to be 



138 LYSBETH 

her son. Indeed, Adrian's face was pure Spanish, there 
was nothing of a Netherlander about his dark beauty. 
Spanish were the eyes of velvet black, set rather close to- 
gether, Spanish also the finely chiselled features and the 
thin, spreading nostrils, Spanish the cold, yet somewhat 
sensual mouth, more apt to sneer than smile ; the straight, 
black hair, the clear, olive skin, and that indifferent, half- 
wearied mien which became its wearer well enough, but in 
a man of his years of Northern blood would have seemed 
unnatural or affected. 

He took his seat without speaking, nor did the others 
speak to him till his stepfather Dirk said : 

" You were not at the works to-day, Adrian, although we 
should have been glad of your help in founding the cul- 
verin." 

"No, father" he called him father answered the 
young man in a measured and rather melodious voice. 
" You see we don't quite know who is going to pay for that 
piece. Or at any rate I don't quite know, as nobody seems 
to take me into confidence, and if it should chance to be 
the losing side, well, it might be enough to hang 
me." 

Dirk flushed up, but made no answer, only Foy re- 
marked : 

" That's right, Adrian, look after your own skin." 

"Just now I find it more interesting," went on Adrian 
loftily and disregardf ul of his brother, "to study those whom 
the cannon may shoot than to make the cannon which is to 
shoot them." 

"Hope you won't be one of them," interrupted Foy 
again. 

" Where have you been this evening, son ? " said Lysbeth 
hastily, fearing a quarrel. 

" I have been mixing with the people, mother, at the 
scene on the market-place yonder." 



ADRIAN, FOY, AND MARTIN THE RED 139 

"Not the martyrdom of our good friend, Jansen, 
surely ? " 

"Yes, mother, why not? It is terrible, it is a crime, 
no doubt, but the observer of life should study these things. 
There is nothing more fascinating to the philosopher than 
the play of human passions. The emotions of the brutal 
crowd, the stolid indifference of the guard, the grief of 
the sympathisers, the stoical endurance of the victims ani- 
mated by religious exaltation " 

" And the beautiful logic of the philosopher, with his 
nose in the air, while he watches his friend and brother in 
the Faith being slowly burnt to death," broke out Foy 
with passion. 

"Hush! hush!" said Dirk, striking his fist upon the 
table with a blow that caused the glasses to ring, ' ' this is 
110 subject for word-chopping. Adrian, you would have 
been better with us than down below at that butchery, even 
though you were less safe," he added, with meaning. " But 
I wish to run none into danger, and you are of an age to 
judge for yourself. I beg you, however, to spare us your 
light talk about scenes that we think dreadful, however 
interesting you may have found them." 

Adrian shrugged his shoulders and called to Martin to 
bring him some more meat. As the great man approached 
him he spread out his fine-drawn nostrils and sniffed. 

" You smell, Martin," he said, " and no wonder. Look, 
there is blood upon your jerkin. Have you been killing 
pigs and forgotten to change it? " 

Martin's round blue eyes flashed, then went pale and 
dead again. 

" Yes, master," he answered, in his thick voice, " I have 
been killing pigs. But your dress also smells of blood and 
fire ; perhaps you went too near the stake." At that mo- 
ment, to put an end to the conversation, Dirk rose and 
said grace. Then he went out of the room accompanied by 



140 LYSBETH 

his wife and Foy, leaving Adrian to finish his meal alone, 
which he did reflectively and at leisure. 

When he left the eating chamber Foy followed Martin 
across the courtyard to the walled-in stables, and up a 
ladder to the room where the serving man slept. It was a 
queer place, and filled with an extraordinary collection of 
odds and ends ; the skins of birds, otters, and wolves ; weap- 
ons of different makes, notably a very large two-handed 
sword, plain and old-fashioned, but of excellent steel ; bits 
of harness and other things. 

There was no bed in this room for the reason that Mar- 
tin disdained a bed, a few skins upon the floor being all 
that he needed to lie on. Nor did he ask for much cover- 
ing, since so hardy was he by nature, that except in the very 
bitterest weather his woollen vest was enough for him. In- 
deed, he had been known to sleep out in it when the frost 
was so sharp that he rose with his hair and beard covered 
with icicles. 

Martin shut the door and lit three lanterns, which he 
hung to hooks upon the wall. 

" Are you ready for a turn, master ? " he asked. 

Foy nodded as he answered, " I want to get the taste of 
it all out of my mouth, so don't spare me. Lay on till I 
get angry, it will make me forget," and taking a leathern 
jerkin off a peg he pulled it over his head. 

"Forget what, master?" 

"Oh! the prayings and the burnings and Vrouw Jansen, 
and Adrian's sea-lawyer sort of talk." 

"Ah, yes, that's the worst of them all for us," and the 
big man leant forward and whispered. " Keep an eye on 
him, Master Foy." 

" What do you mean ? " asked Foy sharply and flushing. 

" What I say." 

" You forget ; you are talking of my brother, my own 
mother's son. I will hear no harm of Adrian ; his ways 



ADRIAN, FOY, AND MARTIN THE RED 141 

are different to ours, but he is good -hearted at bottom. Do 
you understand me, Martin? " 

" But not your father's son, master. It's the sire sets 
the strain ; I have bred horses, and I know." 

Foy looked at him and hesitated. 

"No," said Martin, answering the question in his eyes, 
" I have nothing against him, but he always sees the other 
side, and that's bad. Also he is Spanish " 

" And you don't like Spaniards," broke in Foy. " Mar- 
tin, you are a pig-headed, prejudiced, unjust jackass." 

Martin smiled. "No, master, I don't like Spaniards, 
nor will you before you have done with them. But then it 
is only fair as they don't like me." 

"I say, Martin," said Foy, following a new line of 
thought, "how did you manage that business so quietly, 
and why didn't you let me do my share ? " 

" Because you'd have made a noise, master, and we didn't 
want the watch on us ; also, being fully armed, they might 
have bettered you." 

" Good reasons, Martin. How did you do it ? I couldn't 
see much." 

" It is a trick I learned up there in Friesland. Some of 
the Northmen sailors taught it me. There is a place in a 
man's neck, here at the back, and if he is squeezed there 
he loses his senses in a second. Thus, master " and put- 
ting out his great hand he gripped Foy's neck in a fashion 
that caused him the intensest agony. 

" Drop it," said Foy, kicking at his shins. 

"I didn't squeeze ; I was only showing you," answered 
Martin, opening his eyes. " Well, when their wits were 
gone of course it was easy to knock their heads together, 
so that they mightn't find them again. You see," he 
added, " if I had left them alive well, they are dead 
anyway, and getting a hot supper by now, I expect. Which 
shall it be, master ? Dutch stick or Spanish point ? " 



142 LYSBETH 

11 Stick first, then point," answered Foy. 

"Good. We need 'em both nowadays," and Martin 
reached down a pair of ash plants fitted into old sword 
hilts to protect the hands of the players. 

They stood up to each other on guard, and then against 
the light of the lanterns it could be seen how huge a man 
was Martin. Foy, although well-built and sturdy, and like 
all his race of a stout habit, looked but a child beside the 
bulk of this great fellow. As for their stick game, which 
was in fact sword exercise, it is unnecessary to follow its 
details, for the end of it was what might almost have been 
expected. Foy sprang to and fro slashing and cutting, 
while Martin the solid scarcely moved his weapon. Then 
suddenly there would be a parry and a reach, and the stick 
would fall with a thud all down the length of Foy's back, 
causing the dust to start from his leathern jerkin. 

"It's no good," said Foy at last, rubbing himself rue- 
fully. " "What's the use of guarding against you, you great 
brute, when you simply crash through my guard and hit 
me all the same? That isn't science." 

"No, master," answered Martin, "but it is business. 
If we had been using swords you would have been in pieces 
by now. No blame to you and no credit to me ; my reach 
is longer and my arm heavier, that is all." 

" At any rate I am beaten," said Foy ; " now take the 
rapiers and give me a chance." 

Then they went at it with the thrusting-swords, rendered 
harmless by a disc of lead upon their points, and at this 
game the luck turned. Foy was active as a cat with the 
eye of a hawk, and twice he managed to get in under 
Martin's guard . 

" You're dead, old fellow," he said at the second thrust. 

" Yes, young master," answered Martin, " but remember 
that I killed you long ago, so that you are only a ghost and 
of no account. Although I have tried to learn its use to 



ADRIAN, FOY, AND MARTIN THE RED 143 

please you, I don't mean to fight with a toasting fork. 
This is my weapon," and, seizing the great sword which 
stood in the corner, he made it hiss through the air. 

Foy took it from his hand and looked at it. It was a 
long straight blade with a plain iron guard, or cage, for the 
hands, and on it, in old letters, was engraved one Latin 
word, Silentium, "Silence." 

" Why is it called ' Silence,' Martin ? " 

" Because it makes people silent, I suppose, master." 

"What is its history, and how did you come by it?" 
asked Foy in a malicious voice. He knew that the subject 
was a sore one with the huge Frisian. 

Martin turned red as his own beard and looked uncom- 
fortable. "I believe," he answered, staring upwards, 
" that it was the ancient Sword of Justice of a little place 
up in Friesland. As to how I came by it, well, I for- 
get." 

"And you call yourself a good Christian," said Foy re- 
proachfully. " Now I have heard that your head was going 
to be chopped off with this sword, but that somehow you 
managed to steal it first and got away." 

" There was something of the sort," mumbled Martin, 
" but it is so long ago that it slips my mind. I was so often 
in broils and drunk in those days may the dear Lord for- 
give me that I can't quite remember things. And now, 
by your leave, I want to go to sleep." 

"You old liar," said Foy shaking his head at him, 
"you killed that poor executioner and made off with his 
sword. You know you did, and now you are ashamed to 
own the truth." 

"May be, may be," answered Martin vacuously; "so 
many things happen in the world that a fool man cannot 
remember them all. I want to go to sleep." 

" Martin," said Foy, sitting down upon a stool and drag- 
ging off his leather jerkin, "what used you to do before 



144 LYSBETH 

you turned holy ? You have never told me all the story. 
Come now, speak up. I won't tell Adrian." 

"Nothing worth mentioning, Master Foy." 

"Out with it, Martin." 

" Well, if you wish to know, I am the son of a Friesland 
boor." 

" And an Englishwoman from Yarmouth: I know 
all that." 

" Yes," repeated Martin, "an Englishwoman from Yar- 
mouth. She was very strong, my mother ; she could hold 
up a cart on her shoulders while my father greased the 
wheels, that is for a bet ; otherwise she used to make my 
father hold the cart up while she greased the wheels. Folk 
would come to see her do the trick. "When I grew up I 
held the cart and they both greased the wheels. But at 
last they died of the plague, the pair of them, God rest 
their souls! So I inherited the farm " 

" And " said Foy, fixing him with his eye. 

"And," jerked out Martin in an unwilling fashion, 
" fell into bad habits." 

" Drink ? " suggested the merciless Foy. 

Martin sighed and hung his great head. He had a tender 
conscience. 

"Then you took to prize-fighting," went on his tor- 
mentor ; " you can't deny it ; look at your nose." 

"I did, master, for the Lord hadn't touched my heart 
in those days, and," he added, brisking up, " it wasn't 
such a bad trade, for nobody ever beat me except a Brussels 
man once when I was drunk. He broke my nose, but after- 
wards, when I was sober " and he stopped. 

"You killed the Spanish boxer here in Leyden," said 
Foy sternly. 

" Yes," echoed Martin, " I killed him sure enough, but 
oh ! it was a pretty fight, and he brought it on himself. 
He was a fine man, that Spaniard, but the devil wouldn't 



ADRIAN, FOY, AND MARTIN THE RED 145 

play fair, so I just had to kill him. I hope that they bear 
in mind up above that I had to kill him." 

" Tell me about it, Martin, for I was at The Hague at the 
time, and can't remember. Of course I don't approve of 
such things " and the young rascal clasped his hands and 
looked pious " but as it is all done with, one may as well 
hear the story of the fight. To spin it won't make you 
more wicked than you are." 

Then suddenly Martin the unreminiscent developed a 
marvellous memory, and with much wealth of detail set out 
the exact circumstances of that historic encounter. 

"And after he had kicked me in the stomach," he 
ended, "which, master, you will know he had no right to 
do, I lost my temper and hit out with all my strength, having 
first feinted and knocked up his guard with my left arm " 

"And then," said Foy, growing excited, for Martin 
really told the story very well, " what happened ? " 

" Oh, his head went back between his shoulders, and 
when they picked him up, his neck was broken. I was 
sorry, but I couldn't help it, the Lord knows I couldn't 
help it ; he shouldn't have called me ' a dirty Frisian ox ' 
and kicked me in the stomach." 

" No, that was very wrong of him. But they arrested 
you, didn't they, Martin ? " 

" Yes, for the second time they condemned me to death 
as a brawler and a manslayer. You see, the other Friesland 
business came up against me, and the magistrates here had 
money on the Spaniard. Then your dear father saved me. 
He was burgomaster of that year, and he paid the death 
fine for me a large sum afterwards, too, he taught me to 
be sober and think of my soul. So you know why Red 
Martin will serve him and his while there is a drop of blood 
left in his worthless carcase. And now, Master Foy, I'm 
going to sleep, and God grant that those dirty Spanish dogs 
mayn't haunt me." 
10 



148 LYSBETH 

"Don't you fear for that, Martin," said Foy as he took 
his departure, "absolve te for those Spaniards. Through 
your strength God smote them who were not ashamed to rob 
and insult a poor new widowed woman after helping to 
murder her husband. Yes, Martin, you may enter that on 
the right side of the ledger for a change for they won't 
haunt you at night. I'm more afraid lest the business 
should be traced home to us, but I don't think it likely 
since the street was quite empty." 

" Quite empty," echoed Martin nodding his head. " No- 
body saw me except the two soldiers and Vrouw Jansen. 
They can't tell, and I'm sure that she won't, Good-night, 
my young master." 



CHAPTER X 

ADRIAN GOES OUT HAWKING 

IN a house down a back street not very far from the Ley- 
den prison, a man and a -woman sat at breakfast on the 
morning following the burning of the Heer Jansen and his 
fellow martyr. These also we have met before, for they were 
none other than the estimable Black Meg and her compan- 
ion, named the Butcher. Time, which had left them both 
strong and active, had not, it must be admitted, improved 
their personal appearance. Black Meg, indeed, was much 
as she had always been, except that her hair was now grey 
and her features, which seemed to be covered with yellow 
parchment, had become sharp and haglike, though her dark 
eyes still burned with their ancient fire. The man, Hague 
Simon, or the Butcher, scoundrel by nature and spy and 
thief by trade, one of the evil spawn of an age of violence 
and cruelty, boasted a face and form that became his repu- 
tation well. His countenance was villainous, very fat and 
flabby, with small, pig-like eyes, and framed, as it were, in 
a fringe of sandy-coloured whiskers, running from the 
throat to the temple, where they faded away into a great 
expanse of utterly bald head. The figure beneath was 
heavy, pot-paunched, and supported upon a pair of bowed 
but sturdy legs. 

But if they were no longer young, and such good looks 
as they ever possessed had vanished, the years had brought 
them certain compensations. Indeed, it was a period in 
which spies and all such wretches flourished, since, besides 
other pickings, by special enactment a good proportion of 
the realized estates of heretics was paid over to the inform- 



148 LYSBETH 

era as blood-money. Of course, however, humble tools like 
the Butcher and his wife did not get the largest joints of 
the heretic sheep, for whenever one was slaughtered, there 
were always many honest middlemen of various degree to 
be satisfied, from the judge down to the executioner, with 
others who never showed their faces. 

Still, when the burnings and torturings were brisk, the 
amount totalled up very handsomely. Thus, as the pair 
sat at their meal this morning, they were engaged in figur- 
ing out what they might expect to receive from the estate 
of the late Heer Jansen, or at least Black Meg was so em- 
ployed with the help of a deal board and a bit of chalk. At 
last she announced the result, which was satisfactory. 
Simon held up his fat hands in admiration. 

" Clever little dove," he said, " you ought to have been 
a lawyer's wife with your head for figures. Ah ! it grows 
near, it grows near." 

" What grows near, you fool ? " asked Meg in her deep 
mannish voice. 

" That farm with an inn attached of which I dream, 
standing in rich pasture land with a little wood behind it, 
and in the wood a church. Not too large ; no, I am not 
ambitious ; let us say a hundred acres, enough to keep 
thirty or forty cows, which you would milk while I mar- 
keted the butter and the cheeses " 

" And slit the throats of the guests," interpolated Meg. 

Simon looked shocked. " No, wife, you misjudge me. 
It is a rough world, and we must take queer cuts to for- 
tune, but once I get there, respectability for me and a seat 
in the village church, provided, of course, that it is ortho- 
dox. I know that you come of the people, and your in- 
stincts are of the people, but I can never forget that my 
grandfather was a gentleman," and Simon puffed himself 
out and looked at the ceiling. 

"Indeed," sneered Meg, "and what was your grand- 



ADRIAN GOES OUT HAWKING 149 

mother, or, for the matter of that, how do you know who 
was your grandfather? Country house! The old Eed 
Mill, where you hide goods out there in the swamp, is likely 
to be your only country house. Village church ? Village 
gallows more likely. No, don't you look nasty at me, for I 
won't stand it, you dirty little liar. I have done things, 
I know ; but I wouldn't have got my own aunt burned for 
an Anabaptist, which she wasn't, in order to earn twenty 
florins, so there." 

Simon turned purple with rage ; that aunt story was one 
which touched him on the raw. " Ugly " he began. 

Instantly Meg's hand shot out and grasped the neck of a 
bottle, whereon he changed his tune. 

" The sex, the sex ! " he murmured, turning aside to mop 
his bald head with a napkin ; " well, it's only their pretty 
way, they will have their little joke. Hullo, there is some- 
one knocking at the door." 

"And mind how you open it," said Meg, becoming 
alert. " Remember we have plenty of enemies, and a pike 
blade comes through a small crack." 

"Can you live with the wise and remain a greenhorn? 
Trust me." And placing his arm about his spouse's waist, 
Simon stood on tiptoe and kissed her gently on the cheek 
in token of reconciliation, for Meg had a nasty memory in 
quarrels. Then he skipped away towards the door as fast 
as his bandy legs would carry him. 

The colloquy there was long and for the most part carried 
on through the keyhole, but in the end their visitor was 
admitted, a beetle-browed brute of much the same stamp 
as his host. 

"You are nice ones," he said sulkily, "to be so suspi- 
cious about an old friend, especially when he comes on a 
job." 

"Don't be angry, dear Hans," interrupted Simon in a 
pleading voice. " You know how many bad characters 



150 LYSBETH 

are abroad in these rough times ; why, for aught we could 
tell, you might have been one of these desperate Lutherans, 
who stick at nothing. But about the business?" 

"Lutherans, indeed," snarled Hans : "well, if they are 
wise they'd stick at your fat stomach ; but it is a Lutheran 
job that I have come from The Hague to talk about." 

"Ah ! " said Meg, " who sent you ? " 

" A Spaniard named Ramiro, who has recently turned up 
there, a humorous dog connected with the Inquisition, who 
seems to know everybody and whom nobody knows. How- 
ever, his money is right enough, and no doubt he has au- 
thority behind him. He says that you are old friends of 
his." 

" Ramiro ? Ramiro ? " repeated Meg reflectively, " that 
means Oarsman, doesn't it, and sounds like an alias ? Well, 
I've lots of acquaintances in the galleys, and he may be one 
of them. What does he want, and what are the terms? " 

Hans leant forward and whispered for a long while. 
The other two listened in silence, only nodding from time 
to time. 

"It doesn't seem much for the job," said Simon when 
Hans had finished. 

"Well, friend, it is easy and safe ; a fat merchant and 
his wife and a young girl. Mind you, there is no killing 
to be done if we can help it, and if we can't help it the 
Holy Office will shield us. Also it is only the letter which 
he thinks that the young woman may carry that the noble 
Ramiro wants. Doubtless it has to do with the sacred affairs 
of the Church. Any valuables about them we may keep as 
a perquisite over and above the pay." 

Simon hesitated, but Meg announced with decision, 

"It is good enough ; these merchant women generally 
have jewels hidden in their stays." 

" My dear," interrupted Simon. 

"Don't 'my dear' me," said Meg fiercely. "I have 



ADRIAN GOES OUT HAWKING 151 

made up my mind, so there's an end. We meet by the 
Boshhuysen at five o'clock at the big oak in the copse, 
where we will settle the details." 

After this Simon said no more, for he had this virtue, so 
useful in domestic life he Knew when to yield. 

On this same morning Adrian rose late. The talk at the 
supper table on the previous night, especially Foy's coarse, 
uneducated sarcasm, had ruffled his temper, and when 
Adrian's temper was ruffled he generally found it necessary 
to sleep himself into good humour. As the bookkeeper of 
the establishment, for his stepfather had never been able to 
induce him to take an active part in its work, which in his 
heart he considered beneath him, Adrian should have been 
in the office by nine o'clock. Not having risen before ten, 
however, nor eaten his breakfast until after eleven, this 
was clearly impossible. Then he remembered that here was 
a good chance of finishing a sonnet, of which the last lines 
were running in his head. It chanced that Adrian was a 
bit of a poet, and, like most poets, he found quiet essential 
to the art of composition. Somehow, when Foy was in the 
house, singing and talking, and that great Frisian brute, 
Martin, was tramping to and fro, there was never any 
quiet, for even when he could not hear them, the sense of 
their presence exasperated his nerves. So now was his op- 
portunity, especially as his mother was out marketing, she 
said but in all probability engaged upon some wretched 
and risky business connected with the people whom she 
called martyrs. Adrian determined to avail himself of it 
and finish his sonnet. 

This took some time. First, as all true artists know, 
the Muse must be summoned, and she will rarely arrive 
under an hour's appropriate and gloomy contemplation of 
things in general. Then, especially in the case of sonnets, 
rhymes, which are stubborn and remorseless things, must 



152 LYSBETH 

be found and arranged. The pivot and object of this par- 
ticular poem was a certain notable Spanish beauty, Isabella 
d'Ovanda by name. She was the wife of a decrepit but 
exceedingly noble Spaniard, who might almost have been 
her grandfather, and who had been sent as one of a com- 
mission appointed by King Philip II. to inquire into certain 
financial matters connected with the Netherlands. 

This grandee, who, as it happened, was a very industri- 
ous and conscientious person, among other cities, had vis- 
ited Leyden in order to assess the value of the Imperial 
dues and taxes. The task did not take him long, because 
the burghers rudely and vehemently declared that under 
their ancient charter they were free from any Imperial dues 
or taxes whatsoever, nor could the noble marquis's arguments 
move them to a more rational view. Still, he argued for a 
week, and during that time his wife, the lovely Isabella, 
dazzled the women of the town with her costumes and the 
men with her exceedingly attractive person. 

Especially did she dazzle the romantic Adrian ; hence 
the poetry. On the whole the rhymes went pretty well, 
though there were difficulties, but with industry he got 
round them. Finally the sonnet, a high-flown and very 
absurd composition, was completed. 

By now it was time to eat ; indeed, there are few things 
that make a man hungrier than long-continued poetical 
exercise, so Adrian ate. In the midst of the meal his 
mother returned, pale and anxious-faced, for the poor 
woman had been engaged in making arrangements for the 
safety of the beggared widow of the martyred Jansen, a 
pathetic and even a dangerous task. In his own way 
Adrian was fond of his mother, but being a selfish puppy 
he took but little note of her cares or moods. Therefore, 
seizing the opportunity of an audience he insisted upon 
reading to her his sonnet, not once but several times. 

" Very pretty, my son, very pretty," murmured Lysbeth, 



ADRIAN GOES OUT HAWKING 153 

through whose bewildered brain the stilted and meaningless 
words buzzed like bees in an empty hive, " though I am sure 
I cannot guess how you find the heart in such times as these 
to write poetry to fine ladies whom you do not know." 

" Poetry, mother," said Adrian sententiously, " is a great 
consoler ; it lifts the mind from the contemplation of petty 
and sordid cares." 

" Petty and sordid cares! " repeated Lysbeth wonderingly, 
then she added with a kind of cry : "Oh! Adrian, have 
you no heart that you can watch a saint burn and come 
home to philosophise about his agonies ? Will you never 
understand ? If you could have seen that poor woman this 
morning who only three months ago was a happy bride." 
Then bursting into tears Lysbeth turned and fled from the 
room, for she remembered that what was the fate of the 
Vrouw Jansen to-day to-morrow might be her own. 

This show of emotion quite upset Adrian whose nerves 
were delicate, and who being honestly attached to his 
mother did not like to see her weeping. 

"Pest on the whole thing," he thought to himself, 
" why can't we go away and live in some pleasant place 
where they haven't got any religion, unless it is the wor- 
ship of Venus? Yes, a place of orange groves, and running 
streams, and pretty women with guitars, who like having 
sonnets read to them, and " 

At this moment the door opened and Martin's huge and 
flaming poll appeared. 

" The master wants to know if you are coming to the 
works, Heer Adrian, and if not will you be so good as to 
give me the key of the strong-box as he needs the cash 
book." 

With a groan Adrian rose to go, then changed his mind. 
No, after that perfumed vision of green groves and lovely 
ladies it was impossible for him to face the malodorous and 
prosaic foundry. 



154 LYSBETH 

" Tell them I can't come," he said, drawing the key from 
his pocket. 

"Very good, Heer Adrian, why not?" 

"Because I am writing." 

" Writing what? " queried Martin. 

"A sonnet." 

" What's a sonnet ? " asked Martin blankly. 

"Ill-educated clown," murmured Adrian, then with a 
sudden inspiration, " I'll show you what a sonnet is ; I 
will read it to you. Come in and shut the door." Martin 
obeyed, and was duly rewarded with the sonnet, of which 
he understood nothing at all except the name of the lady, 
Isabella d'Ovanda. But Martin was not without the guile 
of the serpent. 

"Beautiful," he said, "beautiful! Bead it again, 
master." 

Adrian did so with much delight, remembering the tale 
of how the music of Orpheus had charmed the very beasts. 

"Ah!" said Martin, "that's a love-letter, isn't it, to 
that splendid, black-eyed marchioness, whom I saw look- 
ing at you?" 

"Well, not exactly," said Adrian, highly pleased, al- 
though to tell the truth he could not recollect upon what 
occasion the fair Isabella had favoured him with her kind 
glances. " Yet I suppose that you might call it so, an 
idealised love-letter, a letter in which ardent and distant 
yet tender admiration is wrapt with the veil of verse." 

" Quite so. Well, Master Adrian, just you send it to her. " 

"You don't think that she might be offended?" que- 
ried Adrian doubtfully. 

" Offended! " said Martin, " if she is I know nothing of 
women " (as a matter of fact he didn't). "No, she will be 
very pleased ; she'll take it away and read it by herself, and 
sleep with it under her pillow until she knows it by heart, 
and then I daresay she will ask you to come and see her. 



ADRIAN GOES OUT HAWKING 155 

"Well, I must be off, but thank you for reading me the beau- 
tiful poetry letter, Heer Adrian." 

" Really," reflected Adrian, as the door closed behind 
him, " this is another instance of the deceitfulness of ap- 
pearances. I always thought Martin a great, brutal fool, 
yet in his breast, uncultured as it is, the sacred spark still 
smoulders." And then and there he made up his mind that 
he would read Martin a further selection of poems upon the 
first opportunity. 

If only Adrian could have been a witness to the scene which 
at that very moment was in progress at the works ! Martin 
having delivered the key of the box, sought out Foy, and 
proceeded to tell him the story. More, perfidious one, he 
handed over a rough draft of the sonnet which he had sur- 
reptitiously garnered from the floor, to Foy, who, clad in a 
leather apron, and seated on the edge of a casting, read it 
eagerly. 

" I told him to send it," went on Martin, " and, by St. 
Peter, I think he will, and then if he doesn't have old Don 
Diaz after him with a pistol in one hand and a stiletto in 
the other, my name isn't Martin Eoos." 

" Of course, of course," gasped Foy, kicking his legs into 
the air with delight, " why, they call the old fellow ' Singe 
jaloux.' Oh! it's capital, and I only hope that he opens 
the lady's letters." 

Thus did Foy, the commonplace and practical, make a 
mock of the poetic efforts of the high-souled and senti- 
mental Adrian. 

Meanwhile Adrian, feeling that he required air after his 
literary labours, fetched his peregrine from its perch for 
he was fond of hawking and, setting it on his wrist, 
started out to find a quarry on the marshes near the town. 

Before he was halfway down the street he had forgotten 
all about the sonnet and the lovely Isabella. His was a 
curious temperament, and this sentimentality, born of vain- 



156 LYSBETH 

ness and idle hours, by no means expressed it all. That he 
was what we should nowadays call a prig we know, and also 
that he possessed his father's, Montalvo's, readiness of 
speech without his father's sense of humour. In him, as 
Martin had hinted, the strain of the sire predominated, for 
in all essentials Adrian was as Spanish in mind as in appear- 
ance. 

For instance, the sudden and violent passions into which 
he was apt to fall if thwarted or overlooked were purely 
Spanish ; there seemed to he nothing of the patient, phleg- 
matic Netherlander about this side of him. Indeed it was 
this temper of his perhaps more than any other desire or 
tendency that made him so dangerous, for, whereas the 
impulses of his heart were often good enough, they were 
always liable to be perverted by some access of suddenly 
provoked rage. 

From his birth up Adrian had mixed little with Span- 
iards, and every influence about him, especially that of his 
mother, the being whom he most loved on earth, had been 
anti-Spanish, yet were he an hidalgo fresh from the Court 
at the Escurial, he could scarcely have been more Castilian. 
Thus he had been brought up in what might be called a 
Republican atmosphere, yet he was without sympathy for 
the love of liberty which animated the people of Holland. 
The sturdy independence of the Netherlander, their per- 
petual criticism of kings and established rules, their vulgar 
and unheard-of assumption that the good things of the 
world were free to all honest and hard-working citizens, and 
not merely the birthright of blue blood, did not appeal to 
Adrian. Also from childhood he had been a member of the 
dissenting Church, one of the New Religion. Yet, at 
heart, he rejected this faith with its humble professors and 
pastors, its simple, and sometimes squalid rites ; its long 
and earnest prayers offered to the Almighty in the damp of 
a cellar or the reek of a cowhouse. 



ADRIAN GOES OUT HAWKING 157 

Like thousands of his Spanish fellow-countrymen, he was 
constitutionally unable to appreciate the fact that true 
religion and true faith are the natural fruits of penitence 
and effort, and that individual repentance and striving are 
the only sacrifices required of man. 

For safety's sake, like most politic Netherlander, Adrian 
was called upon from time to time to attend worship in the 
Catholic churches. He did not find the obligation irksome. 
In fact, the forms and rites of that stately ceremonial, the 
moving picture of the Mass in those dim aisles, the pealing 
of the music and the sweet voices of hidden choristers all 
these things unsealed a fountain in his bosom and at whiles 
moved him well nigh to tears. The system appealed to 
him also, and he could understand that in it were joy and 
comfort. For here was to be found forgiveness of sins, not 
far off in the heavens, but at hand upon the earth ; forgive- 
ness to all who bent the head and paid the fee. Here, ready 
made by that prince of armourers, a Church that claimed 
to be directly inspired, was a harness of proof which, after 
the death he dreaded (for he was full of spiritual fears and 
superstitions), would suffice to turn the shafts of Satan from 
his poor shivering soul, however steeped in crime. Was 
not this a more serviceable and practical faith than that of 
these loud-voiced, rude-handed Lutherans among whom he 
lived ; men who elected to cast aside this armour and trust 
instead to a buckler forged by their faith and prayers yes, 
and to give up their evil ways and subdue their own desires 
that they might forge it better ? 

Such were the thoughts of Adrian's secret heart, but as 
yet he had never acted on them, since, however much he 
might wish to do so, he had not found the courage to break 
away from the influence of his surroundings. His sur- 
roundings ah ! how he hated them ! How he hated them ! 
For very shame's sake, indeed, he could not live in complete 
idleness among folk who were always busy, therefore he 



158 LYSBETH 

acted as accountant in his stepfather's business, keeping 
the books of the foundry in a scanty and inefficient fashion, 
or writing letters to distant customers, for he was a skilled 
clerk, to order the raw materials necessary to the craft. 
But of this occupation he was weary, for he had the true 
Spanish dislike and contempt of trade. In his heart he 
held that war was the only occupation worthy of a man, 
successful war, of course, against foes worth plundering, 
such as Cortes and Pizarro had waged upon the poor In- 
dians of New Spain. 

Adrian had read a chronicle of the adventures of these 
heroes, and bitterly regretted that he had come into the 
world too late to share them. The tale of heathen foemen 
slaughtered by thousands, and of the incalculable golden 
treasures divided among their conquerors, fired his imagina- 
tion especially the treasures. At times he would see them 
in his sleep, baskets full of gems, heaps of barbaric gold 
and guerdon of fair women slaves, all given by heaven to 
the true soldier whom it had charged with the sacred work of 
Christianising unbelievers by means of massacre and the rack. 

Oh! how deeply did he desire such wealth and the power 
which it would bring with it ; he who was dependent upon 
others that looked down upon him as a lazy dreamer, who had 
never a guilder to spare in his pouch, who had nothing 
indeed but more debts than he cared to remember. But it 
never occurred to him to set to work and grow rich like his 
neighbours by honest toil and commerce. No, that was 
the task of slaves, like these low Hollander fellows among 
whom his lot was cast. 

Such were the main characteristics of Adrian, surnamed 
van Goorl ; Adrian the superstitious but unspiritual 
dreamer, the vain Sybarite, the dull poet, the chopper of 
false logic, the weak and passionate self-seeker, whose best 
and deepest cravings, such as his love for his mother and 
another love that shall be told of, were really little more 



ADRIAN GOES OUT HAWKING 169 

than a reflection of his own pride and lusts, or at least could 
be subordinated to their fulfilment. Not that he was alto- 
gether bad ; somewhere in him there was a better part. 
Thus : he was capable of good purposes and of bitter re- 
morse ; under certain circumstances even he might become 
capable also of a certain spurious spiritual exaltation. But 
if this was to bloom in his heart, it must be in a prison 
strong enough to protect from the blows of temptation. 
Adrian tempted would always be Adrian overcome. He 
was- fashioned by nature to be the tool of others or of his 
own desires. 

It may be asked what part had his mother in him ; 
where in his weak ignoble nature was the trace of her pure 
and noble character ? It seems hard to find. Was this want 
to be accounted for by the circumstances connected with 
his birth, in which she had been so unwilling an agent ? 
Had she given him something of her body but naught of 
that which was within her own control her spirit ? Who 
can say ? This at least is true, that from his mother's stock 
he had derived nothing beyond a certain Dutch doggedness 
of purpose which, when added to his other qualities, might 
in some events make him formidable a thing to fear and 
flee from. 

Adrian reached the Witte Poort, and paused on this side 
of the moat to reflect about things in general. Like most 
young men of his time and blood, as has been said, he had 
military leanings, and was convinced that, given the oppor- 
tunity, he might become one of the foremost generals of his 
age. Now he was engaged in imagining himself besieging 
Leyden at the head of a great army, and in fancy disposing 
his forces after such fashion as would bring about its fall in 
the shortest possible time. Little did he guess that within 
some few years this very question was to exercise the brain 
of Valdez and other great Spanish captains. 



160 LYSBETH 

Whilst he was thus occupied suddenly a rude voice called, 

" Wake up, Spaniard," and a hard object it was a green 
apple struck him on his flat cap nearly knocking out the 
feather. Adrian leaped round with an oath, to catch sight 
of two lads, louts of about fifteen, projecting their tongues 
and jeering at him from behind the angles of the gate- 
house. Now Adrian was not popular with the youth of 
Leyden, and he knew it well. So, thinking it wisest to take 
no notice of this affront, he was about to continue on his 
way when one of the youths, made bold by impunity, 
stepped from his corner and bowed before him till the 
ragged cap in his hand touched the dust, saying, in a 
mocking voice, 

" Hans, why do you disturb the noble hidalgo ? Cannot 
you see that the noble hidalgo is going for a walk in the 
country to look for his most high father, the honourable 
duke of the Golden Fleece, tu whom he is taking a cockolly 
bird as a present ? " 

Adrian heard and winced at the sting of the insult, as a 
high-bred horse winces beneath the lash. Of a sudden rage 
boiled in his veins like a fountain of fire, and drawing the 
dagger from his girdle, he rushed at the boys, dragging the 
hooded hawk, which had become dislodged from his wrist, 
fluttering through the air after him. At that moment, 
indeed, he would have been capable of killing one or both 
of them if he could have caught them, but, fortunately for 
himself and them, being prepared for an onslaught, they 
vanished this way and that up the narrow lanes. Presently 
he stopped, and, still shaking with wrath, replaced the 
hawk on his wrist and walked across the bridge. 

" They shall pay for it," he muttered. " Oh ! I will not 
forget, I will not forget." 

Here it may be explained that of the story of his birth 
Adrian had heard something, but not all. He knew, for 
instance, that his father's name was Montalvo, that the 



ADRIAN GOES OUT HAWKING 161 

marriage with his mother for some reason was declared to 
be illegal, and that this Montalvo had left the Netherlands 
under a cloud to find his death, so he had been told, abroad. 
More than this Adrian did not know for certain, since every- 
body showed a singular reticence in speaking to him of the 
matter. Twice he had plucked up courage to question his 
mother on the subject, and on each occasion her face had 
turned cold and hard as stone, and she answered almost 
in the same words : 

"Son, I beg you to be silent. When I am dead you 
will find all the story of your birth written down, but if 
you are wise you will not read." 

Once also he had asked the same question of his step- 
father, Dirk van Goorl, whereupon Dirk looked ill at ease 
and answered : 

" Take my advice, lad, and be content to know that you 
are here and alive with friends to take care of you. 
Kemember that those who dig in churchyards find 
bones." 

"Indeed," replied Adrian haughtily; " at least I trust 
that there is nothing against my mother's reputation." 

At these words, to his surprise, Dirk suddenly turned 
pale as a sheet and stepped towards him as though he were 
about to fly at his throat. 

"You dare to doubt your mother," he began, "that 
angel out of Heaven " then ceased and added pres- 
ently, " Go ! I beg your pardon ; I should have remembered 
that you at least are innocent, and it is but natural that the 
matter weighs upon your mind." 

So Adrian went, also that proverb about churchyards and 
bones made such an impression on him that he did no 
more digging. In other words he ceased to ask questions, 
trying to console his mind with the knowledge that, how- 
ever his father might have behaved to his mother, at least 
he was a man of ancient rank and ancient blood, which 
11 



162 LYSBETH 

blood was his to-day. The rest would be forgotten, although 
enough of it was still remembered to permit of his being 
taunted by those street louts, and when it was forgotten 
the blood, that precious blue blood of an hidalgo of Spain, 
must still remain his heritage. 



CHAPTER XI 

ADRIAN RESCUES BEAUTY IN DISTRESS 

ALL that loiig evening Adrian wandered about the 
causeways which pierced the meadowlands and marshes, 
pondering these things and picturing himself as having 
attained to the dignity of a grandee of Spain, perhaps even 
who could tell to the proud rank of a Knight of the 
Golden Fleece entitled to stand covered in the presence of 
his Sovereign. More than one snipe and other bird such 
as he had come to hawk rose at his feet, but so preoccupied 
was he that they were out of flight before he could unhood 
his falcon. At length, after he had passed the church of 
Weddinvliet, and, following the left bank of the Old Vliet, 
was opposite to the wood named Boshhuysen after the half- 
ruined castle that stood in it, he caught sight of a heron 
winging its homeward way to the heronry, and cast off his 
peregrine out of the hood. She saw the quarry at once and 
dashed towards it, whereon the heron, becoming aware of 
the approach of its enemy, began to make play, rising high 
into the air in narrow circles. Swiftly the falcon climbed 
after it in wider rings till at length she hovered high above 
and stooped, but in vain. With a quick turn of the wings 
the heron avoided her, and before the falcon could find her 
pitch again, was far on its path towards the wood. 

Once more the peregrine climbed and stooped with a 
like result. A third time she soared upwards in great 
circles, and a third time rushed downwards, now striking 
the quarry full and binding to it. Adrian, who was follow- 
ing their flight as fast as he could run, leaping some of the 
dykes in his path and splashing through others, saw and 



164 LYSBETH 

paused to watch the end. For a moment hawk and quarry 
hung in the air two hundred feet above the tallest tree be- 
neath them, for at the instant of its taking the heron had 
begun to descend to the grove for refuge, a struggling black 
dot against the glow of sunset. Then, still bound together, 
they rushed downward headlong, for their spread and flut- 
tering wings did not serve to stay their fall, and vanished 
among the tree-tops. 

"Now my good hawk will be killed in the boughs oh! 
what a fool was I to fly so near the wood," thought Adrian 
to himself as again he started forward. 

Pushing on at his best pace, soon he was wandering about 
among the trees as near to that spot where he had seen the 
birds fall as he could guess it, calling to the falcon and 
searching for her with his eyes. But here, in the dense 
grove, the fading light grew faint, so that at length he was 
obliged to abandon the quest in- despair, and turned to find 
his way to the Leyden road. When within twenty paces of 
it, suddenly he came upon hawk and heron. The heron 
was stone dead, and the brave falcon so injured that it 
seemed hopeless to try to save her, for as he feared, they had 
crashed through the boughs of a tree in their fall. Adrian 
looked at her in dismay, for he loved this bird, which ;wae 
the best of its kind in the city, having trained her himself 
from a nestling. Indeed there had always been a curious 
sympathy between himself and this fierce creature of which 
he made a companion as another man might of a dog. Even 
now he noted with a sort of pride that broken-winged and 
shattered though she was, her talons remained fixed in the 
back of the quarry, and her beak through the neck. 

He stroked the falcon's head, whereon the bird, recog- 
nising him, loosed her grip of the heron and tried to flutter 
to her accustomed perch upon his wrist, only to fall to the 
ground, where she lay watching him with her bright eyes. 
Then, because there was no help for it, although he choked 



ADRIAN RESCUES BEAUTY IN DISTRESS 165 

with grief at the deed, Adrian struck her on the head with 
his staff until she died. 

" Goodbye, friend," he muttered ; "at least that is the 
best way to go hence, dying with a dead foe beneath," and, 
picking up the peregrine, he smoothed her ruffled feathers 
and placed her tenderly in his satchel. 

Then it was, just as Adrian rose to his feet, standing 
beneath the shadow of the big oak upon which the birds 
had fallen, that coming from the road, which was separated 
from him by a little belt of undergrowth, he heard the 
sound of men's voices growling and threatening, and with 
them a woman's cry for help. At any other time he would 
have hesitated and reconnoitred, or, perhaps, have retreated 
at once, for he knew well the dangers of mixing himself up 
in the quarrels of wayfarers in those rough days. But the 
loss of the hawk had exasperated his nerves, making any 
excitement or adventure welcome to him. Therefore, 
without pausing to think, Adrian pushed forward through 
the brushwood to find himself in the midst of a curious scene. 

Before him ran the grassy road or woodland lane. In 
the midst of it, sprawling on his back, for he had been 
pulled from his horse, lay a stout burgher, whose pockets 
were being rifled by a heavy-browed footpad, who from 
time to time, doubtless to keep him quiet, threatened his 
victim with a knife. On the pillion of the burgher's thick- 
set Flemish horse, which was peacefully cropping at the 
grass, sat a middle-aged female, who seemed to be stricken 
dumb with terror, while a few paces away a second ruffian 
and a tall, bony woman were engaged in dragging a girl 
from the back of a mule. 

Acting on the impulse of the moment, Adrian shouted, 

" Come on, friends, here are the thieves," whereon the 
robber woman took to flight and the man wheeled round, 
as he turned snatching a naked knife from his girdle. But 
before he could lift it Adrian's heavy staff crashed down 



166 LYSBETH 

upon the point of his shoulder, causing him to drop the 
dagger with a howl of pain. Again the staff rose and fell, 
this time upon his head, staggering him and knocking off 
his cap, so that the light, such as it was, shone upon his 
villainous fat face, the fringe of sandy-coloured whisker 
running from throat to temples, and the bald head above, 
which Adrian knew at once for that of Hague Simon, or 
the Butcher. Fortunately for him, however, the Butcher 
was too surprised, or too much confused by the blow which 
he had received upon his head, to recognise his assailant. 
Nor, having lost his knife, and believing doubtless that 
Adrian was only the first of a troop of rescuers, did he 
seem inclined to continue the combat, but, calling to his 
companion to follow him, he began to run after the woman 
with a swiftness almost incredible in a man of his build 
and weight, turning presently into the brushwood, where 
he and his two fellow thieves vanished away. 

Adrian dropped the point of his stick and looked round 
him, for the whole affair had been so sudden, and the rout 
of the enemy so complete, that he was tempted to believe 
he must be dreaming. Not eighty seconds ago he was hid- 
ing the dead falcon in his satchel, and now behold ! he was 
a gallant knight who, unarmed, except for a dagger, which 
he forgot to draw, had conquered two sturdy knaves and a 
female accomplice, bristling with weapons, rescuing from 
their clutches Beauty (for doubtless the maiden was beau- 
tiful), and, incidentally, her wealthy relatives. Just then 
the lady, who had been dragged from the mule to the 
ground, where she still lay, struggled to her knees and 
looked up, thereby causing the hood of her travelling cloak 
to fall back from her head. 

Thus it was, softened and illuminated by the last pale 
glow of this summer evening, that Adrian first saw the 
face of Elsa Brant, the woman upon whom, in the name of 
love, he was destined to bring so much sorrow. 



ADRIAN RESCUES BEAUTY IN DISTRESS 167 

The hero Adrian, overthrower of robbers, looked at the 
kneeling Elsa, and knew that she was lovely, as, under the 
circumstances, was right and fitting, and the rescued Elsa, 
gazing at the hero Adrian, admitted to herself that he was 
handsome, also that his appearance on the scene had been 
opportune, not to say providential. 

Elsa Brant, the only child of that Hendrik Brant, the 
friend and cousin of Dirk van Goorl, who has already figured 
in this history, was just nineteen. Her eyes, and her hair 
which curled, were brown, her complexion was pale, sug- 
gesting delicacy of constitution, her mouth small, with a 
turn of humour about it, and her chin rather large and firm. 
She was of middle height, if anything somewhat under it, 
with an exquisitely rounded and graceful figure and perfect 
hands. Lacking the stateliness of a Spanish beauty, and 
the coarse fulness of outline which has always been ad- 
mired in the Netherlands, Elsa was still without doubt a 
beautiful woman, though how much of her charm was 
owing to her bodily attractions, and how much to her viva- 
cious mien and to a certain stamp of spirituality that was set 
upon her face in repose, and looked out of her clear large 
eyes when she was thoughtful, it would not be easy to de- 
termine. At any rate, her charms were sufficient to make 
a powerful impression upon Adrian, who, forgetting all 
about the Marchioness d'Ovanda, inspirer of sonnets, be- 
came enamoured of her then and there ; partly for her own 
sake and partly because it was the right kind of thing for 
a deliverer to do. 

But it cannot be said, however deep her feelings of grati- 
tude, that Elsa became enamoured of Adrian. Undoubt- 
edly, as she had recognised, he was handsome, and she 
much admired the readiness and force with which he had 
smitten that singularly loathsome-looking individual who 
had dragged her from the mule. But as it chanced, stand- 
ing where he did, the shadow of his face lay on the grass 



168 LYSBETH 

beside her. It was a faint shadow, for the light faded, 
still it was there, and it fascinated her, for seen thus the 
fine features became sinister and cruel, and their smile of 
courtesy and admiration was transformed into a most un- 
pleasant sneer. A trivial accident of light, no doubt, and 
foolish enough that Elsa should notice it under such cir- 
cumstances. But notice it she did, and what is more, so 
quickly are the minds of women turned this way or that, 
and so illogically do they draw a right conclusion from some 
pure freak of chance, it raised her prejudice against him. 

"Oh! Seflor," said Elsa clasping her hands, "how can 
I thank you enough ? " 

This speech was short and not original. Yet there were 
two things about it that Adrian noted with satisfaction ; 
first, that it was uttered in a soft and most attractive voice, 
and secondly, that the speaker supposed him to be a Span- 
iard of noble birth. 

"Do not thank me at all, gracious lady," he replied, 
making his lowest bow. " To put to flight two robber 
rogues and a woman was no great feat, although I had but 
this staff for weapon," he added, perhaps with a view to 
impressing upon the maiden's mind that her assailants had 
been armed while he, the deliverer, was not. 

"Ah!" she answered, "I daresay that a brave knight 
like you thinks nothing of fighting several men at once, 
but when that wretch with the big hands and the flat face 
caught hold of me I nearly died of fright. At the best of 
times I am a dreadful coward, and no, I thank you, 
Seflor, I can stand now and alone. See, here comes the 
Heer van Broekhoven under whose escort I am travelling, 
and look, he is bleeding. Oh! worthy friend, are you 
hurt?" 

"Not much, Elsa," gasped the Heer, for he was still 
breathless with fright and exhaustion, "but that ruffian 
may the hangman have him gave me a dig in the shoulder 



with his knife as he rose to run. However," he added 
with satisfaction, "he got nothing from me, for I am an 
old traveller, and he never thought to look in my 
hat." 

" I wonder why they attacked us," said Elsa. 

The Heer van Broekhoven rubbed his head thoughtfully. 
" To rob us, I suppose, but the queer thing is that they 
were expecting us, for I heard the woman say, ' Here they 
are ; look for the letter on the girl, Butcher.' ' 

As he spoke Elsa's face turned grave, and Adrian saw 
her glance at the animal she had been riding and slip her 
arm through its rein. 

"Worthy sir," went on Van Broekhoven, "tell us 
whom we have to thank." 

"I am Adrian, called Van Goorl," Adrian replied with 
dignity. 

"Van Goorl! " said the Heer. "Well, this is strange ; 
Providence could not have arranged it better. Listen, 
wife," he went on, addressing the stout lady, who all this 
while had sat still upon the horse, so alarmed and bewil- 
dered that she could not speak, " here is a son of Dirk van 
Goorl, to whom we are charged to deliver Elsa." 

"Indeed," answered the good woman, recovering herself 
somewhat, " I thought from the look of him that he was a 
Spanish nobleman. But whoever he is I am sure that we 
are all very much obliged to him, and if he could show us 
the way out of this dreadful wood, which doubtless is full 
of robbers, to the house of our kinsfolk, the Broekhovens 
of Leyden, I should be still more grateful." 

" Madam, you have only to accept my escort, and I 
assure you that you need fear no more robbers. Might I 
in turn ask this lady's name ? " 

" Certainly, young sir, she is Elsa Brant, the only child 
of Hendrik Brant, the famous goldsmith of The Hague, 
but doubtless now that you know her name you know all 



170 LYSBETH 

that also, for she must be some kind of cousin to you. 
Husband, help Elsa on to her mule." 

" Let that be my duty," said Adrian, and, springing for- 
ward, he lifted Elsa to the saddle gracefully enough. Then, 
taking her mule by the bridle, he walked onwards through 
the wood praying in his heart that the Butcher and his 
companions would not find courage to attack them again 
before they were out of its depths. 

"Tell me, sir, are you Toy?" asked Elsa in a puzzled 
voice. 

" No," answered Adrian, shortly, " I am his brother." 

" Ah! that explains it. You see I was perplexed, for I 
remember Foy when I was quite little ; a beautif ul boy, with 
blue eyes and yellow hair, who was always very kind to me. 
Once he stopped at my father's house at The Hague with 
his father." 

"Indeed," said Adrian, "I am glad to hear that Foy 
was ever beautiful. I can only remember that he was very 
stupid, for 1 used to try to teach him. At any rate, I am 
afraid you will not think him beautiful now that is, un- 
less you admire young men who are almost as broad as 
they are long." 

"Oh! Heer Adrian," she answered, laughing, "I am 
afraid that fault can be found with most of us North Hol- 
land folk, and myself among the number. You see it is 
given to very few of us to be tall and noble-looking like 
high-born Spaniards not that I should wish to resemble any 
Spaniard, however lovely she might be," Elsa added, with 
a slight hardening of her voice and face. " But," she went 
on hurriedly, as though sorry that the remark had escaped 
her, "you, sir, and Foy are strangely unlike to be 
brothers ; is it not so ? " 

"We are half-brothers," said Adrian looking straight 
before him ; "we have the same mother only ; but please 
do not call me * sir,' call me ' cousin.' " 



ADRIAN RESCUES BEAUTY IN DISTRESS 171 

"No, I cannot do that," she replied gaily, "for Foy's 
mother is no relation of mine. I think that I must call 
you ' Sir Prince,' for, you see, you appeared at exactly the 
right time ; just like the Prince in the fairy-tales, you 
know." 

Here was an opening not to be neglected by a young man 
of Adrian's stamp. 

" Ah! " he said in a tender voice, and looking up at the 
lady with his dark eyes, " that is a happy name indeed. I 
would ask no better lot than to be your Prince, now and 
always charged to defend you from every danger." (Here, 
it may be explained, that, however exaggerated his lan- 
guage, Adrian honestly meant what he said, seeing that 
already he was convinced that to be the husband of the 
beautiful heiress of one of the wealthiest men in the Neth- 
erlands would be a very satisfactory walk in life for a young 
man in his position.) 

"Oh! Sir Prince," broke in Elsa hurriedly, for her 
cavalier's ardour was somewhat embarrassing, "you are 
telling the story wrong ; the tale I mean did not go on like 
that at all. Don't you remember? The hero rescued the 
lady and handed her over to to her father." 

"Of whom I think he came to claim her afterwards," 
replied Adrian with another languishing glance, and a smile 
of conscious vanity at the neatness of his answer. Their 
glances met, and suddenly Adrian became aware that Elsa's 
face had undergone a complete change. The piquante, 
half-amused smile had passed out of it ; it was strained 
and hard and the eyes were frightened. 

"Oh! now I understand the shadow how strange," she 
exclaimed in a new voice. 

" What is the matter ? "What is strange ? " he asked. 

" Oh! only that your face reminded me so much of a 
man of whom I am terrified. No, no, I am foolish, it is 
nothing, those footpads have upset me. Praise be to God 



172 LYS&ETH 

that we are out of that dreadful wood ! Look, neighbour 
Broekhoven, here is Leyden before us. Are not those red 
roofs pretty in the twilight, and how big the churches seem. 
See, too, there is water all round the walls ; it must be a 
very strong town. I should think that even the Spaniards 
could not take it, and oh ! I am sure that it would be a 
good thing if we might find a city which we were quite, 
quite certain the Spaniards could never take all, all of us," 
and she sighed heavily. 

"HI were a Spanish general with a proper army," began 
Adrian pompously, " I would take Leyden easily enough. 
Only this afternoon I studied its weak spots, and made a 
plan of attack which could scarcely fail, seeing that the 
place would only be defended by a mob of untrained, half- 
armed burghers." 

Again that curious look returned into Elsa's eyes. 

"If you were a Spanish general," she said slowly. 
" How can you jest about such a thing as the sacking of a 
town by Spaniards ? Do you know what it means ? That 
is how they talk ; I have heard them," and she shuddered, 
then went on: " You are not a Spaniard, are you, sir, that 
you can speak like that ?" And without waiting for an 
answer Elsa urged her mule forward, leaving him a little 
behind. 

Presently as they passed through the Witte Poort, he 
was at her side again and chatting to her, but although she 
replied courteously enough, he felt that an invisible barrier 
had arisen between them. Yes, she had read his secret 
heart ; it was as though she had been a party to his 
thoughts when he stood by the bridge this afternoon de- 
signing plans for the taking of Leyden, and half wishing 
that he might share in its capture. She mistrusted him, 
and was half afraid of him, and Adrian knew that it was so. 

Ten minutes' ride through the quiet town, for in those 
days of terror and suspicion unless business took them 



ADRIAN RESCUES BEAUTY IN DISTRESS 173 

abroad people did not frequent the streets much after sun- 
down, brought the party to the van Goorl's house in the Bree 
Straat. Here Adrian dismounted and tried to open the 
door, only to find that it was locked and barred. This 
seemed to exasperate a temper already somewhat excited by 
the various events and experiences of the day, and more 
especially by the change in Elsa's manner ; at any rate 
he used the knocker with unnecessary energy. After a 
while, with much turning of keys and drawing of bolts, 
the door was opened, revealing Dirk, his stepfather, stand- 
ing in the passage, candle in hand, while behind, as though 
to be ready for any emergency, loomed the great stooping 
shape of Ked Martin. 

"Is that you, Adrian?" asked Dirk in a voice at once 
testy and relieved. " Then why did you not come to the 
side entrance instead of forcing us to unbar here ? " 

"Because I bring you a guest," replied Adrian point- 
ing to Elsa and her companions. " It did not occur to me 
that you would wish guests to be smuggled in by a back 
door as though as though they were ministers of our 
New Religion." 

The bow had been drawn at a venture but the shaft went 
home, for Dirk started and whispered: "Be silent, fool." 
Then he added aloud, " Guest! What guest ? " 

"It is I, cousin Dirk, I, Elsa, Hendrik Brant's daugh- 
ter," she eaid, sliding from her mule. 

" Elsa Brant! " ejaculated Dirk. " Why, how came you 
here?" 

"I will tell you presently, " she answered; "I cannot 
talk in the street," and she touched her lips with her finger. 
" These are my friends, the van Broekhovens, under whose 
escort I have travelled from The Hague. They wish to go 
on to the house of their relations, the other Broekhovens, 
if some one will show them the way." 

Then followed greetings and brief explanations. After 



174 LYSBETH 

these the Broekhovens departed to the house of their rela- 
tives, under the care of Martin, while, its saddle having 
been removed and carried into the house at Elsa's express 
request, Adrian led the mule round to the stable. 

When Dirk had kissed and welcomed his young cousin he 
ushered her, still accompanied by the saddle, into the room 
where his wife and Foy were at supper, and with them the 
Pastor Arentz, that clergyman who had preached to them 
on the previous night. Here he found Lysbeth, who had 
risen from the table anxiously awaiting his return. So 
dreadful were the times that a knocking on the door at an 
unaccustomed hour was enough to throw those within into 
a paroxysm of fear, especially if at the moment they chanced 
to be harbouring a pastor of the New Faith, a crime pun- 
ishable with death. That sound might mean nothing more 
than a visit from a neighbour, or it might be the trump of 
doom to every soul within the house, signifying the approach 
of the familiars of the Inquisition and of a martyr's crown. 
Therefore Lysbeth uttered a sigh of joy when her husband 
appeared, followed only by a girl. 

" Wife," he said, "here is our cousin, Elsa Brant, come 
to visit us from The Hague, though why I know not as 
yet. You remember Elsa, the little Elsa, with whom we 
used to play so many years ago." 

"Yes, indeed," answered Lysbeth, as she put her arms 
about her and embraced her, saying, " welcome, child, 
though," she added, glancing at her, "you should no 
longer be called child who have grown into so fair a maid. 
But look, here is the Pastor Arentz, of whom you may 
have heard, for he is the friend of your father and of 
us all." 

"In truth, yes," answered Elsa curtseying, a salute 
which Arentz acknowledged by saying gravely, 

" Daughter, I greet you in the name of the Lord, who 



ADRIAN RESCUES BEAUTY IN DISTRESS 175 

has brought you to this house safely, for which give 
thanks." 

"Truly, Pastor, I have need to do so since " and 
suddenly she stopped, for her eyes met those of Foy, who 
was gazing at her with such wonder and admiration stamped 
upon his open face that Elsa coloured at the sight. Then, 
recovering herself, she held out her hand, saying, " Surely 
you are my cousin Foy ; I should have known you again 
anywhere by your hair and eyes." 

" I am glad," he answered simply, for it flattered him to 
think that this beautiful young lady remembered her old 
playmate, whom she had not seen for at least eleven years, 
adding, "but I do not think I should have known 
you." 

" Why ? " she asked, " have I changed so much ? " 

"Yes," Foy answered bluntly, "you used to be a thin 
little girl with red arms, and now you are the most lovely 
maiden I ever saw." 

At this speech everybody laughed, including the Pastor, 
while Elsa, reddening still more, replied, " Cousin, I re- 
member that you used to be rude, but now you have learned 
to flatter, which is worse. Nay, I beg of you, spare me," 
for Foy showed signs of wishing to argue the point. Then 
turning from him she slipped off her cloak and sat down 
on the chair which Dirk had placed for her at the table, 
reflecting in her heart that she wished it had been Foy who 
rescued her from the wood thieves, and not the more pol- 
ished Adrian. 

Afterwards as the meal went on she told the tale of their 
adventure. Scarcely was it done when Adrian entered the 
room. The first thing he noticed was that Elsa and Foy 
were seated side by side, engaged in animated talk, and 
the second, that there was no cover for him at the table. 

"Have I your permission to sit down, mother?" he 
asked in a loud voice, for RQ one had se,en him come in. 



170 LYSBETH 

"Certainly, son, why not?" answered Lysbeth, kindly. 
Adrian's voice warned her that his temper was ruffled. 

" Because there is no place for me, mother, that is all, 
though doubtless it is more worthily filled by the Rev. 
Pastor Arentz. Still, after a man has been fighting for his 
life with armed thieves, well a bit of food and a place to 
eat it in would have been welcome." 

" Fighting for your life, son! " said Lysbeth astonished. 
" Why, from what Elsa has just been telling us, I gathered 
that the rascals ran away at the first blow which you struck 
with your staff." 

"Indeed, mother ; well, doubtless if the lady says that, 
it was so. I took no great note ; at the least they ran and 
she was saved, with the others ; a small service not worth 
mentioning, still useful in its way." 

"Oh! take my chair, Adrian," said Foy rising, "and 
don't make such a stir about a couple of cowardly footpads 
and an old hag. You don't want us to think you a hero 
because you didn't turn tail and leave Elsa and her com- 
panions in their hands, do you ? " 

" What you think, or do not think, brother, is a matter 
of indifference to me," replied Adrian, seating himself with 
an injured air. 

" Whatever my cousin Foy may think, Heer Adrian," 
broke in Elsa anxiously, " I am sure I thank God who sent 
so brave a gentleman to help us. Yes, yes, I mean it, 
for it makes me sick to remember what might have hap- 
pened if you had not rushed at those wicked men like 
like " 

" Like David on the Philistines," suggested Foy. 

" You should study your Bible, lad," put in Arentz with 
a grave smile. " It was Samson who slew the Philistines ; 
David conquered the giant Goliath, though it is true that 
he also was a Philistine." 

"Like Samson I mean David on Goliath," continued 



ADRIAN RESCUES BEAUTY IN DISTRESS 177 

Elsa confusedly. " Oh! please, cousin Foy, do not laugh ; 
I believe that you would have left me at the mercy of that 
dreadful man with a flat face and the bald head, who was 
trying to steal my father's letter. By the way, cousin 
Dirk, I have not given it to you yet, but it is quite safe, 
sewn up in the lining of the saddle, and I was to tell you 
that you must read it by the old cypher." 

" Man with a flat face," said Dirk anxiously, as he slit 
away at the stitches of the saddle to find the letter ; " tell 
me about him. What was he like, and what makes you 
think he wished to take the paper from you ? " 

So Elsa describ i the appearance of the man and of the 
black-eyed hag, his companion, and repeated also the words 
that the Heer van Broekhoven had heard the woman utter 
before the attack took place. 

" That sounds like the spy, Hague Simon, him whom 
they call the Butcher, and his wife, Black Meg," said Dirk. 
" Adrian, you must have seen these people, was it they ? " 

For a moment Adrian considered whether he should tell 
the truth ; then, for certain reasons of his own, decided 
that he would not. Black Meg, it may be explained, in the 
intervals of graver business was not averse to serving as an 
emissary of Venus. In short, she arranged assignations, 
and Adrian was fond of assignations. Hence his reticence. 

" How should I know ? " he answered, after a pause ; 
" the place was gloomy, and I have only set eyes upon 
Hague Simon and his wife about twice in my life." 

"Softly, brother," said Foy, "and stick to the truth, 
however gloomy the wood may have been. You know 
Black Meg pretty well at any rate, for I have often seen 
you " and he stopped suddenly, as though sorry that 
the words had slipped from his tongue. 

" Adrian, is this so ? " asked Dirk in the silence which 
followed. 

"No, stepfather," answered Adrian. 
12 



178 LYSBETH 

"You hear," said Dirk addressing Foy. " III future, son, 
I trust that you will be more careful with your words. It is 
no charge to bring lightly against a man that he has been 
seen in the fellowship of one of the most infamous wretches 
in Leyden, a creature whose hands are stained red with 
the blood of innocent men and women, and who, as your 
mother knows, once brought me near to the scaffold." 

Suddenly the laughing boyish look passed out of the face 
of Foy, and it grew stern. 

" I am sorry for my words," he said, " since Black Meg 
does other things besides spying, and Adrian may have had 
business of his own with her which is no affair of mine. 
But, as they are spoken, I can't eat them, so you must de- 
cide which of us is not truthful." 

"Nay, Foy, nay," interposed Arentz, "do not put it 
thus. Doubtless there is some mistake, and have I not 
told you before that you are over rash of tongue ? " 

"Yes, and a great many other things," answered Foy, 
" every one of them true, for I am a miserable sinner. 
Well, all right, there is a mistake, and it is," he added, 
with an air of radiant innocency that somehow was scarcely 
calculated to deceive, " that I was merely poking a stick 
into Adrian's temper. I never saw him talking to Black 
Meg. Now, are you satisfied ? " 

Then the storm broke, as Elsa, who had been watching 
the face of Adrian while he listened to Foy's artless but 
somewhat fatuous explanation, saw that it must break. 

"There is a conspiracy against me," said Adrian, who 
had grown white with rage ; " yes, everything has conspired 
against me to-day. First the ragamuffins in the street 
make a mock of me, and then my hawk is killed. Next it 
chances that I rescue this lady and her companions from 
robbers in the wood. But, do I get any thanks for this ? 
No, I come home to find that I am so much forgotten that 
no place is even laid for me at table ; more, to be jeered at 



ADRIAN RESCUES BEAUTY IN DISTRESS 179 

for the humble services that I have done. Lastly, I have 
the lie given to me, and without reproach, by my brother, 
who, were he not my brother, should answer for it at the 
sword's point." 

"Oh! Adrian, Adrian," broke in Foy, "don't be a 
fool ; stop before you say something you will be sorry for." 

"That isn't all," went on Adrian, taking no heed. 
" Whom do I find at this table ? The worthy Heer Arentz, a 
minister of the New Eeligion. Well, I protest. I belong 
to the New Religion myself, having been brought up in that 
faith, but it must be well known that the presence of a 
pastor here in our house exposes everybody to the risk of 
death. If my stepfather and Foy choose to take that risk, 
well and good, but I maintain that they have no right to 
lay its consequences upon my mother, whose eldest son I 
am, nor even upon myself." 

Now Dirk rose and tapped Adrian on the shoulder. 
"Young man," he said coldly and with glittering eyes, 
" listen to me. The risks which I and my son, Foy, and 
my wife, your mother, take, we run for conscience sake. 
You have nothing to do with them, it is our affair. But 
since you have raised the question, if your faith is not strong 
enough to support you I acknowledge that I have no right 
to bring you into danger. Look you, Adrian, you are no 
son of mine ; in you I have neither part nor lot, yet I have 
cared for you and supported you since you were born under 
very strange and unhappy circumstances. Yes, you have 
shared whatever I had to give with my own son, without 
preference or favour, and should have shared it even after my 
death. And now, if these are your opinions, I am tempted 
to say to you that the world is wide and that, instead of 
idling here upon my bounty, you would do well to win your 
own way through it as far from Leyden as may please you." 

" You throw your benefits in my teeth, and reproach me 
with my birth," broke in Adrian, who by uo\v was almost 



180 LYSBETH 

raving with passion, "as though it were a crime in ine to 
have other blood running in my veins than that of Nether- 
lander tradesfolk. Well, if so, it would seem that the 
crime was my mother's, and not mine, who " 

" Adrian, Adrian! " cried Foy, in warning, but the mad- 
man heeded not. 

"Who," he went on, furiously, "was content to be the 
companion, for I understand that she was never really mar- 
ried to him, of some noble Spaniard before she became the 
wife of a Leyden artisan." 

He ceased, and at this moment there broke from Lys- 
beth's lips a low wail of such bitter anguish that it chilled 
even his mad rage to silence. 

" Shame on thee, my son," said the wail, " who art not 
ashamed to speak thus of the mother that bore thee." 

"Ay," echoed Dirk, in the stillness that followed, 
" shame on thee! Once thou wast warned, but now I warn 
no more." 

Then he stepped to the door, opened it, and called, 
" Martin, come hither." 

Presently, still in that heavy silence, which was broken 
only by the quick breath of Adrian panting like some wild 
beast in a net, was heard the sound of heavy feet shuffling 
down the passage. Then Martin entered the room, and 
stood there gazing about him with his large blue eyes, that 
were like the eyes of a wondering child. 

" Your pleasure, master," he said at length, 

"Martin Roos," replied Dirk, waving back Arentz who 
rose to speak, " take that young man, my stepson, the 
Heer Adrian, and lead him from my house without vio- 
lence if possible. My order is that henceforth you are not 
to suffer him to set foot within its threshold ; see that it is 
not disobeyed. Go, Adrian, to-morrow your possessions 
shall be sent to you, and with them such money as shall 
suffice to start you in the world." 



ADRIAN RESCUES BEAUTY IN DISTRESS 181 

Without comment or any expression of surprise, the huge 
Martin shuffled forward towards Adrian, his hand out- 
stretched as though to take him by the arm. 

" What ! " exclaimed Adrian, as Martin advanced down 
the room, "you set your mastiff on me, do you? Then I 
will show you how a gentleman treats dogs," and suddenly, 
a naked dagger shining in his hand, he leaped straight at 
the Frisian's throat. So quick and fierce was the onslaught 
that only one issue to it seemed possible. Elsa gasped and 
closed her eyes, thinking when she opened them to see that 
knife plunged to the hilt in Martin's breast, and Foy sprang 
forward. Yet in this twinkling of an eye the danger was 
done with, for by some movement too quick to follow, Mar- 
tin had dealt his assailant such a blow upon the arm that 
the poniard, jarred from his grasp, flew flashing across the 
room to fall in Lysbeth's lap. Another second and the iron 
grip had closed upon Adrian's shoulder, and although he 
was strong and struggled furiously, yet he could not loose 
the hold of that single hand. 

" Please cease fighting, Mynheer Adrian, for it is quite 
useless," said Martin to his captive in a voice as calm as 
though nothing unusual had happened. Then he turned 
and walked with him towards the door. 

On the threshold Martin stopped, and looking over his 
shoulder said, " Master, I think that the Heer is dead, do 
you still wish me to put him into the street ? " 

They crowded round and stared. It was true, Adrian 
seemed to be dead ; at least his face was like that of a 
corpse, while from the corner of his mouth blood trickled 
in a thin stream. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE SUMMONS 

"WRETCHED man!" said Lysbeth wringing her hands, 
and with a shudder shaking the dagger from her lap as 
though it had been a serpent, "you have killed my son." 

" Your pardon, mistress," replied Martin placidly ; " but 
that is not so. The master ordered me to remove the Heer 
Adrian, whereon the Heer Adrian very naturally tried to 
stab me. But I, having been accustomed to such things in 
my youth," and he looked deprecatingly towards the Pastor 
Arentz, " struck the Heer Adrian upon the bone of his 
elbow, causing the knife to jump from his hand, for had I 
not done so I should have been dead and unable to execute 
the commands of my master. Then I took the Heer Adrian 
by the shoulder, gently as I might, and walked away with 
him, whereupon he died of rage, for which I am very sorry 
but not to blame." 

" You are right, man," said Lysbeth, " it is you who are 
to blame, Dirk ; yes, you have murdered my son. Oh ! 
never mind what he said, his temper was always fierce, and 
who pays any heed to the talk of a man in a mad pas- 
sion." 

" Why did you let your brother be thus treated, cousin 
Foy ? " broke in Elsa quivering with indignation. " It was 
cowardly of you to stand still and see that great red crea- 
ture crush the life out of him when you know well that it 
was because of your taunts that he lost his temper and said 
things that he did not mean, as I do myself sometimes. 



THE SUMMONS 183 

No, I will never speak to you again and only this afternoon 
he saved me from the robbers! " and she burst into weep- 
ing. 

"Peace, peace! this is no time for angry words," said 
the Pastor Arentz, pushing his way through the group of 
bewildered men and overwrought women. "He can 
scarcely be dead ; let me look at him, I am something of a 
doctor," and he knelt by the senseless and bleeding Adrian 
to examine him. 

" Take comfort, Yrouw van Goorl," he said presently, 
" your son is not dead, for his heart beats, nor has his 
friend Martin injured him in any way by the exercise of his 
strength, but I think that in his fury he has burst a blood- 
vessel, for he bleeds fast. My counsel is that he should be 
put to bed and his head cooled with cold water till the sur- 
geon can be fetched to treat him. Lift him in your arms, 
Martin." 

So Martin carried Adrian, not to the street, but to his 
bed, while Foy, glad of an excuse to escape the undeserved 
reproaches of Elsa and the painful sight of his mother's 
grief, went to seek the physician. In due course he re- 
turned with him, and, to the great relief of all of them, the 
learned man announced that, notwithstanding the blood 
which he had lost, he did not think that Adrian would die, 
though, at the best, he must keep his bed for some weeks, 
have skilful nursing and be humoured in all things. 

While his wife Lysbeth and Elsa were attending to 
Adrian, Dirk and his son, Foy, for the Pastor Arentz had 
gone, sat upstairs talking in the sitting-room, that same 
balconied chamber in which once Dirk had been refused 
while Montalvo hid behind the curtain. Dirk was much 
disturbed, for when his wrath had passed he was a tender- 
hearted man, and his stepson's plight distressed him greatly. 
Now he was justifying himself to Foy, or, rather, to his 
own conscience. 



184 LYSBETH 

" A man who could speak so of his own mother, was not 
fit to stop in the same house with her," he said ; " more- 
over, you heard his words about the pastor. I tell you, son, 
I am afraid of this Adrian." 

" Unless that bleeding from his mouth stops soon you will 
not have cause to fear him much longer," replied Foy sadly, 
"but if you want my opinion about the business, father, 
why here it is I think that you have made too much of a 
small matter. Adrian is Adrian; he is not one of us, and 
he should not be judged as though he were. You cannot 
imagine me flying into a fury because the women forgot to 
set my place at table, or trying to stab Martin and bursting 
a blood vessel because you told him to lead me out of the 
room. No, I should know better, for what is the use of 
any ordinary man attempting to struggle against Martin ? 
He might as well try to argue with the Inquisition. But 
then I am I, and Adrian is Adrian." 

" But the words he used, son. Eemember the words." 

" Yes, and if I had spoken them they would have meant 
a great deal, but in Adrian's mouth I think no more of 
them than if they came from some angry woman. Why, he 
is always sulking, or taking offence, or flying into rages 
over something or other, and when he is like that it all 
means just nothing except that he wants to use fine talk 
and show off and play the Don over us. He did not really 
mean to lie to me when he said that I had not seen him 
talking to Black Meg, he only meant to contradict, or per- 
haps to hide something up. As a matter of fact, if you 
want to know the truth, I believe that the old witch took 
notes for him to some young lady, and that Hague Simon 
supplied him with rats for his hawks." 

" Yes, Foy, that may be so, but how about his talk of 
the pastor ? It makes me suspicious, son. You know the 
times we live in, and if he should go that way remember 
it is in his blood the lives of every one of us are in his 



THE SUMMONS 185 

hand. The father tried to burn me once, and I do not 
wish the child to finish the work." 

" Then when they come out of his hand, you are at lib- 
erty to cut off mine," answered Foy hotly. " I have been 
brought up with Adrian, and I know what he is ; he is vain 
and pompous, and every time he looks at you and me he 
thanks God that he was not made like that. Also he has 
failings and vices, and he is lazy, being too fine a gentle- 
man to work like a common Flemish burgher, and all the 
rest of it. But, father, he has a good heart, and if any 
man outside this house were to tell me that Adrian is 
capable of playing the traitor and bringing his own family 
to the scaffold, well, I would make him swallow his words, 
or try to, that is all. As regards what he said about my 
mother's first marriage" and Foy hung his head "of 
course it is a subject on which I have no right to talk, but, 
father, speaking as one man to another he is sadly placed 
and innocent, whatever others may have been, and I don't 
wonder that he feels sore about the story." 

As he spoke the door opened and Lysbeth entered. 

"How goes it with Adrian, wife?" Dirk asked hast- 

fly- 

" Better, husband, thank God, though the doctor stays 
with him for this night. He has lost much blood, and at 
the best must lie long abed ; above all none must cross his 
mood or use him roughly," and she looked at her husband 
with meaning. 

"Peace, wife," Dirk answered with irritation. "Foy 
here has just read me one lecture upon my dealings with 
your son, and I am in no mood to listen to another. I 
served the man as he deserved, neither less nor more, and 
if he chose to go mad and vomit blood, why it is no fault 
of mine. You should have brought him up to a soberer 
habit." 

" Adrian is not as other men are, and ought not to be 



186 LYSBETH 

measured by the same rule," said Lysbeth, almost repeat- 
ing Foy's words. 

" So I have been told before, wife, though I, who have 
but one standard of right and wrong, find the saying hard. 
But so be it. Doubtless the rule for Adrian is that which 
should be used to measure angels or Spaniards, and not 
one suited to us poor Hollanders who do our work, pay 
our debts, and don't draw knives on unarmed men! " 

"Have you read the letter from your cousin Brant?" 
asked Lysbeth, changing the subject. 

"No," answered Dirk, "what with daggers, swoonings, 
and scoldings it slipped my mind," and drawing the paper 
from his tunic he cut the silk and broke the seals. " I had 
forgotten," he went on, looking at the sheets of words in- 
terspersed with meaningless figures ; "it is in our private 
cypher, as Elsa said, or at least most of it is. Get the key 
from my desk, son, and let us set to work, for our task is 
likely to be long." 

Foy obeyed, returning presently with an old Testament of 
a very scarce edition. With the help of this book and an 
added vocabulary by slow degrees they deciphered the long 
epistle, Foy writing it down sentence by sentence as they 
learned their significance. When at length the task was 
finished, which was not till well after midnight, Dirk read 

the translation aloud to Lysbeth and his son. It ran thus : 

( 

" Well-beloved cousin and old friend, you will be aston- 
ished to see my dear child Elsa, who brings you this paper 
sewn in her saddle, where I trust none will seek it, and 
wonder why she comes to you without warning. I will tell 
you. 

" You know that here the axe and the stake are very busy, 
for at The Hague the devil walks loose ; yes, he is the 
master in this land. Well, although the blow has not yet 
fallen on me, since for a while I have bought off the in- 



THE SUMMONS 187 

formers, hour by hour the sword hangs over my head, nor 
can I escape it in the end. That I am suspected of the 
New Faith is not my real crime. You can guess it. Cousin, 
they desire my wealth. Now I have sworn that no Spaniard 
shall have this, no, not if I must sink it in the sea to save 
it from them, since it has been heaped up to another end. 
Yet they desire it sorely, and spies are about my path and 
about my bed. Worst among them all, and at the head 
of them, is a certain Ramiro, a one-eyed man, but lately 
come from Spain, it is said as an agent of the Inquisition, 
whose manners are those of a person who was once a gentle- 
man, and who seems to know this country well. This 
fellow has approached me, offering if I will give him three- 
parts of my wealth to secure my escape with the rest, and 
I have told him that I will consider the offer. For this 
reason only I have a little respite, since he desires that my 
money should go into his pocket and not into that of the 
Government. But, by the help of God, neither of them, 
shall touch it. 

" See you, Dirk, the treasure is not here in the house as 
they think. It is hidden, but in a spot where it cannot 
stay. 

" Therefore, if you love me, and hold that I have been a 
good friend to you, send your son Foy with one other 
strong and trusted man your Frisian servant, Martin, if 
possible on the morrow after you receive this. When 
night falls he should have been in The Hague some hours, 
and have refreshed himself, but let him not come near me 
or my house. Half an hour after sunset let him, followed 
by his serving man, walk up and down the right side of the 
Broad Street in The Hague, as though seeking adventures, 
till a girl, also followed by a servant, pushes up against him 
as if on purpose, and whispers in his ear, ' Are you from 
Leyden, sweetheart?' Then he must say 'Yes,' and ac- 
company her till he comes to a place where he will learn 



188 LYSBETH 

what must be done and how to do it. Above all, he must 
follow no woman who may accost him and who does not 
repeat these words. The girl who addresses him will be 
short, dark, pretty, and gaily dressed, with a red bow upon 
her left shoulder. But let him not be misled by look or 
dress unless she speaks the words. 

" If he reaches England or Leyden safely with the stuff 
let him hide it for the present, friend, till your heart tells 
you it is needed. I care not where, nor do I wish to know, 
for if I knew, flesh and blood are weak, and I might give 
up the secret when they stretch me on the rack. 

"Already you have my will sent to you three months 
ago, and enclosed in it a list of goods. Open it now and 
you will find that under it my possessions pass to you and 
your heirs absolutely as my executors, for such especial 
trusts and purposes as are set out therein. Elsa has been 
ailing, and it is known that the leech has ordered her a 
change. Therefore her journey to Leyden will excite no 
wonder, neither, or so I hope, will even Kamiro guess that 
I should enclose a letter such as this in so frail a casket. 
Still, there is danger, for spies are many, but having no 
choice, and my need being urgent, I must take the risks. 
If the paper is seized they cannot read it, for they will 
never make out the cypher, since, even did they know of 
them, no copies of our books can be found in Holland. 
Moreover, were this writing all plain Dutch or Spanish, it 
tells nothing of the whereabouts of the treasure, of its des- 
tination, or of the purpose to which it is dedicate. Lastly, 
should any Spaniard chance to find that wealth, it will 
vanish, and, mayhap, he with it." 

" What can he mean by that ? " interrupted Foy. 

"I know not," answered Dirk. " My cousin Brant is 
not a person who speaks at random, so perhaps we have 
misinterpreted the passage." Then he went on reading : 

"Now I have done with the pelf, which must take its 



THE SUMMONS 189 

chance. Only, I pray you I trust it to your honour and 
to your love of an old friend to bury it, burn it, cast it to 
the four winds of heaven before you suffer a Spaniard to 
touch a gem or a piece of gold. 

"I send to you to-day Elsa, my only child. You will 
know my reason. She will be safer with you in Leyden 
than here at The Hague, since if they take me they might 
take her also. The priests and their tools do not spare the 
youug, especially if their rights stand between them and 
money. Also she knows little of my desperate strait ; she 
is ignorant even of the contents of this letter, and I do not 
wish that she should share these troubles. I am a doomed 
man, and she loves me, poor child. One day she will hear 
that it is over, and that will be sad for her, but it would be 
worse if she knew all from the beginning. When I bid her 
good-bye to-morrow, it will be for the last time God give 
me strength to bear the blow. 

" You are her guardian, as you deal with her nay, I 
must be crazy with my troubles, for none other would think 
it needful to remind Dirk van Goorl or his son of their 
duty to the dead. Farewell, friend and cousin. God 
guard you and yours in these dreadful times with which it 
has pleased Him to visit us for a season, that through us 
perhaps this country and the whole world may be redeemed 
from priestcraft and tyranny. Greet your honoured wife, 
Lysbeth, from me ; also your son Foy, who used to be a 
merry lad, and whom I hope to see again within a night or 
two, although it may be fated that we shall not meet. My 
blessing on him, especially if he prove faithful in all these 
things. May the Almighty who guards us give us a happy 
meeting in the hereafter which is at hand. Pray for me. 
Farewell, farewell. HENDEIK BRANT. 

" P. S. I beg the dame Lysbeth to see that Elsa wears 
woollen when the weather turns damp or cold, since her 
chest is somewhat delicate. This was my wife's last charge, 



190 LYSBETH 

and I pass it on to you. As regards her marriage, should 
she live, I leave that to your judgment with this command 
only, that her inclination shall not be forced, beyond what 
is right and proper. When I am dead, kiss her for me, 
and tell her that I loved her beyond any creature now living 
on the earth, and that wherever I am from day to day I 
wait to welcome her, as I shall wait to welcome you and 
yours, Dirk van Goorl. In case these presents miscarry, I 
will send duplicates of them, also in mixed cypher, when- 
ever chance may offer." 

Having finished reading the translation of this cypher 
document, Dirk bent his head while he folded it, not wish- 
ing that his face should be seen. Foy also turned aside to 
hide the tears which gathered in his eyes, while Lysbeth 
wept openly. 

" A sad letter and sad times! " said Dirk at length. 

"Poor Elsa," muttered Foy, then added, with a return 
of hopefulness, "perhaps he is mistaken, he may escape 
after all." 

Lysbeth shook her head as she answered, 

" Hendrik Brant is not the man to write like that if there 
was any hope for him, nor would he part with his daughter 
unless he knew that the end must be near at hand." 

" Why, then, does he not fly ? " asked Foy. 

" Because the moment he stirred the Inquisition would 
pounce upon him, as a cat pounces upon a mouse that tries 
to run from its corner," replied his father. " While the 
mouse sits still the cat sits also and purrs ; when it 
moves " 

There was a silence in which Dirk, having fetched the 
will of Hendrik Brant from a safe hiding place, where it 
had lain since it reached his hands some months before, 
opened the seals and read it aloud. 

It proved to be a very short document, under the terms 



THE SUMMONS 191 

of which Dirk van Goorl and his heirs inherited all the 
property, real and personal, of Hendrik Brant, upon trust 
(1), to make such ample provision for his daughter Elsa as 
might be needful or expedient ; (2) to apply the remainder 
of the money " for the defence of our country, the freedom 
of religious Faith, and the destruction of the Spaniards in 
such fashion and at such time or times as God should reveal 
to them, which," added the will, " assuredly He will 
do." 

Enclosed in this document was an inventory of the prop- 
erty that constituted the treasure. At the head came an 
almost endless list of jewels, all of them carefully sched- 
uled. These were the first three items : 

" Item : The necklace of great pearls that I exchanged 
with the Emperor Charles when he took a love for sap- 
phires, enclosed in a watertight copper box. 

" Item : A coronet and stomacher of rubies mounted in 
my own gold work, the best that ever I did, which three 
queens have coveted, and none was rich enough to buy. 

" Item : The great emerald that my father left me, the 
biggest known, having magic signs of the ancients engraved 
upon the back of it, and enclosed in a chased case of 
gold." 

Then came other long lists of precious stones, too numer- 
ous to mention, but of less individual value, and after them 
this entry : 

" Item : Four casks filled with gold coin (I know not the 
exact weight or number)." 

At the bottom of this schedule was written, "A very 
great treasure, the greatest in all the Netherlands, a fruit 
of three generations of honest trading and saving, converted 
by me for the most part into jewels, that it may be easier to 
move. This is the prayer of me, Hendrik Brant, who owns 
it for his life ; that this gold may prove the earthly doom of 
any Spaniard who tries to steal it, and as I write it comes 



192 LYSBETH 

into my mind that God will grant this my petition. Amen. 
Amen. Amen! So Bay I, Hendrik Brant, who stand at 
the Gate of Death." 

All of this inventory Dirk read aloud, and when he had 
finished Lysbeth gasped with amazement. 

" Surely," she said, "this little cousin of ours is richer 
than many princes. Yes, with such a dowry princes would 
be glad to take her in marriage." 

" The fortune is large enough/' answered Dirk. " But, 
oh! what a burden has Hendrik Brant laid upon our backs, 
for under this will the wealth is left, not straight to the 
lawful heiress, Elsa, but to me and to my heirs on the 
trusts stated, and they are heavy. Look you, wife, the 
Spaniards know of this vast hoard, and the priests know of 
it, and no stone in earth or hell will they leave unturned to 
win that money. I say that, for his own sake, my cousin 
Hendrik would have done better to accept the offer of the 
Spanish thief Kamiro and give him three-fourths and 
escape to England with the rest. But that is not his na- 
ture, who was ever stubborn, and who would die ten times 
over rather than enrich the men he hates. Moreover, he, 
who is no miser, has saved this fortune that^he bulk of it 
may be spent for his country in the hour of her need, and 
alas! of that need we are made the judges, since he is called 
away. Wife, I foresee that these gems and gold will breed 
bloodshed and misery to all our house. But the trust is laid 
upon us and it must be borne. Foy, to-morrow at dawn 
you and Martin will start for The Hague to carry out the 
command of your cousin Brant." 

"Why should my son's life be risked on this mad er- 
rand ? " asked Lysbeth. 

"Because it is a duty, mother," answered Foy cheer- 
fully, although he tried to look depressed. He was young 
and enterprising ; moreover, the adventure promised to be 
full of novelty. 



THE SUMMONS 193 

In spite of himself Dirk smiled and bade him summon 
Martin. 

A minute later Foy was in the great man's den and kick- 
ing at his prostrate form. "Wake up, you snoring bull," 
he said, "awake! " 

Martin sat up, his red head showing like a fire in the 
shine of the taper. "What is it now, Master Foy?" he 
asked yawning. " Are they after us about those two dead 
soldiers ? " 

" No, you sleepy lump, it's treasure." 

"I don't care about treasure," replied Martin, indiffer- 
ently. 

"It's Spaniards." 

"That sounds better," said Martin, shutting his mouth. 
" Tell me about it, Master Foy, while I pull on my jerkin." 

So Foy told him as much as he could in two minutes. 

"Yes, it sounds well," commented Martin, critically. 
"If I know anything of those Spaniards, we shan't get 
back to Leyden without something happening. But I don't 
like that bit about the women ; as likely as not they will 
spoil everything." 

Then he accompanied Foy to the upper room, and there 
received his instructions from Dirk with a solemn and un- 
moved countenance. 

"Are you listening?" asked Dirk, sharply. "Do you 
understand?" 

"I think so, master," replied Martin. "Hear;" and 
he repeated sentence by sentence every word that had fallen 
from Dirk's lips, for when he chose to use it Martin's mem- 
ory was good. " One or two questions, master," he said. 
" This stuff must be brought through at all hazards ? " 

"At all hazards," answered Dirk. 

"And if we cannot bring it through, it must be hidden 
in the best way possible ? " 

"Yes." 

13 



194 LYSBETH 

" And if people should try to interfere with us, I under- 
stand that we must fight? " 

" Of course." 

" And if in the fighting we chance to kill anybody I shall 
not be reproached and called a murderer by the pastor or 
others ?" 

" I think not," replied Dirk. 

"And if anything should happen to my young master 
kere, his blood will not be laid upon my head ? " 

Lysbeth groaned. Then she stood up and spoke. 

' ' Martin, why do you ask such foolish questions ? Your 
peril my son must share, and if harm should come to him 
as may chance, we shall know well that it is no fault of 
yours. You are not a coward or a traitor, Martin." 

" Well, I think not, mistress, at least not often ; but you 
see here are two duties : the first, to get this money 
through, the second, to protect the Heer Foy. I wish to 
know which of these is the more important." 

It was Dirk who answered. 

" You go to carry out the wishes of my cousin Brant ; 
they must be attended to before anything else." 

"Very good," replied Martin ; "you quite understand, 
Heer Foy?" 

"Oh! perfectly," replied that young man, grinning. 

" Then go to bed for an hour or two, as you may have to 
keep awake to-morrow night ; I will call you at dawn. 
Your servant, master and mistress, I hope to report myself 
to you within sixty hours, but if I do not come within 
eighty, or let us say a hundred, it may be well to make in- 
quiries," and he shuffled back to his den. 

Youth sleeps well whatever may be behind or before it, 
and it was not until Martin had called to him thrice next 
morning that Foy opened his eyes in the grey light, and, 
remembering, sprang from his bed. 



THE SUMMONS 195 

"There's no hurry," said Martin, "but it will be as 
well to get out of Leyden before many people are about." 

As he spoke Lysbeth entered the room fully dressed, for 
she had not slept that night, carrying in her hand a little 
leathern bag. 

" How is Adrian, mother ? " asked Foy, as she stooped 
down to kiss him. 

" He sleeps, and the doctor, who is still with him, says 
that he does well," she answered. "But see here, Foy, 
you are about to start upon your first adventure, and this 
is my present to you this and my blessing." Then she 
untied the neck of the bag and poured from it something 
that lay upon the table in a shining heap no larger than 
Martin's fist. Foy took hold of the thing and held it up, 
whereon the little heap stretched itself out marvellously, 
till it was as large indeed as the body garment of a man. 

"Steel shirt!" exclaimed Martin, nodding his head in 
approval, and adding, "good wear for those who mix with 
Spaniards." 

" Yes," said Lysbeth, " my father brought this from the 
East on one of his voyages. I remember he told me that he 
paid for it its weight in gold and silver, and that even then 
it was sold to him only by the special favour of the king of 
that country. The shirt, they said, was ancient, and of 
such work as cannot now be made. It had been worn from 
father to son in one family for three hundred years, but no 
man that wore it ever died by body-cut or thrust, since 
sword or dagger cannot pierce that steel. At least, son, this 
is the story, and, strangely enough, when I lost all the rest 
of my heritage " and she sighed, " this shirt was left 
to me, for it lay in its bag in the old oak chest, and none 
noticed it or thought it worth the taking. So make the 
most of it, Foy ; it is all that remains of your grandfather's 
fortune, since this house is now your father's." 

Beyond kissing his mother in thanks, Foy made no other 



196 LYSBETH 

answer ; he was too much engaged in examining the won- 
ders of the shirt, which as a worker in metals he could well 
appreciate. But Martin said again : 

"Better than money, much better than money. God 
knew that and made them leave the mail." 

"I never saw the like of it," broke in Foy ; "look, it 
runs together like quicksilver, and is light as leather. See, 
too, it has stood sword and dagger stroke before to-day," 
and holding it in a sunbeam they perceived in many direc- 
tions faint lines and spots upon the links caused in past 
years by the cutting edge of swords and the points of dag- 
gers. Yet never a one of those links was severed or 
broken. 

"I pray that it may stand them again if your body be 
inside of it," said Lysbeth. "Yet, son, remember always 
that there is One who can guard you better than any human 
mail however perfect," and she left the room. 

Then Foy drew on the coat over his woollen jersey, and 
it fitted him well, though not so well as in after years, when 
he had grown thicker. Indeed, when his linen shirt and 
his doublet were over it none could have guessed that he 
was clothed in armour of proof. 

"It isn't fair, Martin," he said, "that I should be 
wrapped in steel and you in nothing." 

Martin smiled. "Do you take me for a fool, master," 
he said, " who have seen some fighting in my day, private 
and public ? Look here, " and, opening his leathern jerkin, 
he showed that he was clothed beneath in a strange gar- 
ment of thick but supple hide. 

"Bullskin," said Martin, "tanned as we know how up 
in Friesland. Not so good as yours, but will turn most cuts 
or arrows. I sat up last night making one for you, it was 
almost finished before, but the steel is cooler and better for 
those who can afford it. Come, let us go and eat ; we 
should be at the gates at eight when they open." 



CHAPTER XIII 
MOTHER'S GIFTS ARE GOOD GIFTS 

AT a few minutes to eight that morning a small crowd 
of people had gathered in front of the "Witte Poort at Ley- 
den waiting for the gate to be opened. They were of all 
sorts, but country folk for the most part, returning to 
their villages, leading mules and donkeys slung with empty 
panniers, and shouting greetings through the bars of the 
gate to acquaintances who led in other mules laden with 
vegetables and provisions. Among these stood some priests, 
saturnine and silent, bent, doubtless, upon dark business of 
their own. A squad of Spanish soldiers waited also, the 
insolence of the master in their eyes ; they were marching 
to some neighbouring city. There, too, appeared Foy van 
Goorl and Eed Martin, who led a pack mule ; Foy dressed 
in the grey jerkin of a merchant, but armed with a sword 
and mounted on a good mare ; Martin riding a Flemish 
gelding that nowadays would only have been thought fit for 
the plough, since no lighter-boned beast could carry his 
great weight. Among these moved a dapper little man, 
with sandy whiskers and sly face, asking their business and 
destination of the various travellers, and under pretence of 
guarding against the smuggling of forbidden goods, taking 
count upon his tablets of their merchandise and baggage. 

Presently he came to Foy. 

"Name?" he said, shortly, although he knew him well 
enough. 

" Foy van Goorl and Martin, his father's servant, travel- 



198 LYSBETH 

ling to The Hague with specimens of brassware, consigned 
to the correspondents of our firm," answered Foy, indiffer- 
ently. 

" You are very glib," sneered the sandy-whiskered man ; 
"what is the mule laden with? It may be Bibles for all 
I know." 

"Nothing half so valuable, master," replied Foy; "it 
is a church chandelier in pieces." 

"Unpack it and show me the pieces," said the offi- 
cer. 

Foy flushed with anger and set his teeth, but Martin, 
administering to him a warning nudge in the ribs, submitted 
with prompt obedience. 

It was a long business, for each arm of the chandelier 
had been carefully wrapped in hay bands, and the official 
would not pass them until every one was undone, after 
which they must be done up again. While the pair of 
them were engaged upon this tedious and unnecessary 
task, two fresh travellers arrived at the gate, a long, bony 
person, clothed in a priest-like garb with a hood that hid 
the head, and a fierce, dissolute-looking individual of mili- 
tary appearance and armed to the teeth. Catching sight of 
young van Goorl and his servant, the long person, who 
seemed to ride very awkwardly with legs thrust forward, 
whispered something to the soldier man, and they passed 
on without question through the gate. 

When Foy and Martin followed them twenty minutes 
later, they were out of sight, for the pair were well mounted 
and rode hard. 

" Did you recognise them ? " asked Martin so soon as 
they were clear of the crowd. 

"No," said Foy ; " who are they ? " 

" The papist witch, Black Meg, dressed like a man, and 
the fellow who came here from The Hague yesterday, 
whither they are going to report that the Heer Adrian 



MOTHER'S GIFTS ARE GOOD GIFTS 199 

routed them, and that the Broekhovens with the Jufvrouw 
Elsa got through unsearched." 

" What does it all mean, Martin ? " 

" It means, master, that we shall have a warm welcome 
yonder ; it means that some one guesses we know about 
this treasure, and that we shan't get the stuff away without 
trouble." 

"Will they waylay us ?" 

Martin shrugged his shoulders as he answered, "It is 
always well to be ready, but I think not. Coming back 
they may waylay us, not going. Our lives are of little use 
without the money ; also they cannot be had for the ask- 
ing." 

Martin was right, for travelling slowly they reached the 
city without molestation, and, riding to the house of Dirk's 
correspondent, put up their horses ; ate, rested, delivered 
the sample chandelier, and generally transacted the business 
which appeared to be the object of their journey. In the 
course of conversation they learned from their host that 
things were going very ill here at The Hague for all who 
were supposed to favour the New Religion. Tortures, 
burnings, abductions, and murders were of daily occurrence, 
nor were any brought to judgment for these crimes. In- 
deed, soldiery, spies, and government agents were quartered 
on the citizens, doing what they would, and none dared to 
lift a hand against them. Hendrik Brant, they heard also, 
was still at large and carrying on business as usual in his 
shop, though rumour said that he was a marked man whose 
time would be short. 

Foy announced that they would stay the night, and a 
little after sunset called to Martin to accompany him, as he 
wished to walk in the Broad Street to see the sights of the 
town. 

"Be careful, Mynheer Foy," said their host in warning, 
"for there are many strange characters about, men and 



200 LYSBETH 

women. Oh ! yes, this mere is full of pike, and fresh bait 
is snapped up sharply." 

" We will be wary," replied Foy, with the cheerful air of 
a young man eager for excitement. "Hague pike don't 
like Leyden perch, you know ; they stick in their throats." 

" I hope so, I hope so," said the host, " still I pray you 
be careful. You will remember where to find the horses if 
you want them ; they are fed and I will keep them saddled. 
Your arrival here is known, and for some reason this house 
is being watched." 

Foy nodded and they started out ; Foy going first, and 
Eed Martin, staring round him like a bewildered bumpkin, 
following at his heel, with his great sword, which was called 
Silence, girt about his middle, and hidden as much as pos- 
sible beneath his jerkin. 

"I wish you wouldn't look so big, Martin," Foy whis- 
pered over his shoulder ; " everybody is staring at you and 
that red beard of yours, which glows like a kitchen fire." 

"I can't help it, master," said Martin, " my back aches 
with stooping as it is, and, as for the beard, well, God made 
it so." 

" At least you might dye it," answered Foy; " if it were 
black you would be less like a beacon on a church tower." 

"Another day, master; it is a long business dyeing a 
beard like mine; I think it would be quicker to cut it off." 
Then he stopped, for they were in the Broad Street. 

Here they found many people moving to and fro, but 
although the company were so numerous it was difficult to 
distinguish them, for no moon shone, and the place was 
lighted only by lanterns set up on poles at long distances 
from each other. Foy could see, however, that they were 
for the most part folk of bad character, disreputable wo- 
men, soldiers of the garrison, half-drunken sailors from 
every country, and gliding in and out among them all, 
priests and other observers of events. Before they had been 



MOTHER'S GIFTS ARE GOOD GIFTS 201 

long in the crowd a man stumbled against Foy rudely, at 
the same time telling him to get out of the path. But al- 
though his blood leapt at the insult and his hand went to 
his sword hilt, Foy took no notice, for he understood at 
once that it was sought to involve him in a quarrel. Next 
a woman accosted him, a gaily-dressed woman, but she had 
no bow upon her shoulder, so Foy merely shook his head 
and smiled. For the rest of that walk, however, he was 
aware that this woman was watching him, and with her a 
man whose figure he could not distinguish, for he was 
wrapped in a black cloak. 

Thrice did Foy, followed by Martin, thus promenade the 
right side of the Broad Street, till he was heartily weary of 
the game indeed, and began to wonder if his cousin Brant's 
plans had not miscarried. 

As he turned for the fourth time his doubts were an- 
swered, for he found himself face to face with a small 
woman who wore upon her shoulder a large red bow, and 
was followed by another woman, a buxom person dressed in 
a peasant's cap. The lady with the red bow, making pre- 
tence to stumble, precipitated herself with an affected 
scream right into his arms, and as he caught her, whispered, 
"Are you from Leyden, sweetheart?" "Yes." "Then 
treat me as I treat you, and follow always where I lead. 
First make pretence to be rid of me." 

As she finished whispering Foy heard a warning stamp 
from Martin, followed by the footsteps of the pair whom 
he knew were watching them, which he could distinguish 
easily, for here at the end of the street there were fewer 
people. So he began to act as best he could it was not 
very well, but his awkwardness gave him a certain air of 
sincerity. 

"No, no," he said, "why should I pay for your sup- 
per? Come, be going, my good girl, and leave me and 
my servant to see the town in peace." 



203 LYSBETH 

"Oh! Mynheer, let me be your guide, I beg you,'* an- 
swered she of the red bow clasping her hands and looking 
up into his face. Just then he heard the first woman who 
had accosted him speaking to her companion in a loud 
voice. 

"Look," she said, "Red Bow is trying her best. Ah! 
my dear, do you think that you'll get a supper out of a 
holy Leyden ranter, or a skin off an eel for the asking ? " 

" Oh! he isn't such a selfish fish as he looks," answered 
Red Bow over her shoulder, while her eyes told Foy that it 
was his turn to play. 

So he played to the best of his ability, with the result 
that ten minutes later any for whom the sight had interest 
might have observed a yellow-haired young gallant and a 
black-haired young woman walking down the Broad Street 
with their arms affectionately disposed around each other's 
middles. Following them was a huge and lumbering serv- 
ing man with a beard like fire, who, in a loyal effort to 
imitate the actions of his master, had hooked a great limb 
about the neck of Red Bow's stout little attendant, and 
held her thus in a chancery which, if flattering, must have 
been uncomfortable. As Martin explained to the poor wo- 
man afterwards, it was no fault of his, since in order to 
reach her waist he must have carried her under his arm. 

Foy and his companion chatted merrily enough, if in a 
somewhat jerky fashion, but Martin attempted no talk. 
Only as he proceeded he was heard to mutter between his 
teeth, "Lucky the Pastor Arentz can't see us now. He 
would never understand, he is so one-sided." So at least 
Foy declared subsequently in Leyden. 

Presently, at a hint from his lady, Foy turned down a side 
street, unobserved, as he thought, till he heard a mocking 
voice calling after them, " Good-night, Red Bow, hope you 
will have a fine supper with your Leyden shopboy." 

" Quick," whispered Red Bow, and they turned another 



MOTHER'S GIFTS ARE GOOD GIFTS 203 

corner, then another, and another. Now they walked down 
narrow streets, ill-kept and unsavoury, with sharp pitched 
roofs, gabled and overhanging so much that here and there 
they seemed almost to meet, leaving but a narrow ribbon 
of star-specked sky winding above their heads. Evidently 
it was a low quarter of the town and a malodorous quarter, 
for the canals, spanned by picturesque and high-arched 
bridges, were everywhere, and at this summer season the 
water in them was low, rotten, and almost stirless. 

At length Eed Bow halted and knocked upon a small 
recessed door, which instantly was opened by a man who 
bore no light. 

" Come in," he whispered, and all four of them passed 
into a darksome passage. " Quick, quick! " said the man, 
" I hear footsteps." 

Foy heard them also echoing down the empty street, and 
as the door closed it seemed to him that they stopped in the 
deep shadow of the houses. Then, holding each other 
by the hand, they crept along black passages and down 
stairs till at length they saw light shining through the crev- 
ices of an ill-fitting door. It opened mysteriously at their 
approach, and when they had all entered, shut behind them. 

Foy uttered a sigh of relief for he was weary of this long 
flight, and looked round him to discover that they were in 
a large windowless cellar, well furnished after a fashion by 
oak benches and a table set out with cold meats and flagons 
of wine. At the foot of this table stood a middle-aged 
man, prematurely grey, and with a face worn as though by 
constant care. 

" Welcome, Foy van Goorl," said the man in a gentle 
voice. " Many years have passed since last we met ; still I 
should have known you anywhere, though I think you 
would not have known me." 

Foy looked at him and shook his head. 

" I thought so," went on the man with a smile. " Well, 



204 LTSBETE 

I am Hendrik Brant, your cousin, once the burgomaster of 
The Hague and its richest citizen, but to-day a hunted rat 
who must receive his guests in secret cellars. Tell me now, 
did my daughter, Elsa, reach your good father's house in 
safety, and is she well ? " 

So Foy told him all that story. 

" As I thought, as I thought," said Hendrik. " Ramiro 
knew of her journey and guessed that she might carry 
some letter. Oh! " he went on, shaking his fist in a kind 
of frenzy, and addressing the two women who had played 
the parts of Red Bow and her servant, " who among you is 
the traitor ? Can it be that you, whom my bounty has fed, 
betray me ? Nay, girls, do not weep, I know that it is not 
so, and yet, in this city, the very walls have ears, yes, even 
this deep vault gives up its secrets. Well, if only I can 
save my fortune from those wolves, what do I care ? Then 
they may take my carcase and tear it. At least, my daugh- 
ter is safe for a while, and now I have but one desire left 
on earth to rob them of my wealth also." 

Then he turned to the girl decked out in the gay clothes, 
who, now that the chase was over, sat upon a bench with 
her face hidden in her hand, and said, "Tell me your 
story, Gretchen," whereon she lifted her head and repeated 
all that happened. 

" They press us hard," muttered Brant, " but, friends, we 
will beat them yet. Eat now, and drink while you may." 

So they sat down and ate and drank while Hendrick 
watched them, and the man who had led them to the vault 
listened without the door. 

When they had finished, Brant bade the two women, Red 
Bow and the other, leave the cellar and send in the sentry, 
replacing him as guards. He entered, a hard-faced, griz- 
zled man, and, taking a seat at the table, began to fill him- 
self with food and wine. 

" Hearken, my cousin Foy," said Brant presently, " this 



MOTHER'S GIFTS ARE GOOD GIFTS 205 

is the plan. A league away, near to the mouth of the great 
canal, lie certain boats, a score or over of them, laden with 
trading goods and timber, in the charge of honest men 
who know nothing of their cargo, but who have orders to 
fire them if they should be boarded. Among these boats is 
one called the Swallow, small, but the swiftest on this coast, 
and handy in a sea. Her cargo is salt, and beneath it eight 
kegs of powder, and between the powder and the salt certain 
barrels, which barrels are filled with treasure. Now, 
presently, if you have the heart for it and if you have 
not, say so, and I will go myself this man here, Hans, 
under cover of the darkness, will row you down to the boat 
Swallow. Then you must board her, and at the first break 
of dawn hoist her great sail and stand out to sea, and away 
with her where the wind drives, tying the skiff behind. 
Like enough you will find foes waiting for you at the mouth 
of the canal, or elsewhere. Then I can give you only one 
counsel get out with the Swalloiu if you can, and if you 
cannot, escape in the skiff or by swimming, but before you 
leave her fire the slow-matches that are ready at the bow 
and the stern, and let the powder do its work and blow my 
wealth to the waters and the winds. Will you do it? 
Think, think well before you answer." 

" Did we not come out from Leyden to be at your com- 
mand, cousin ? " said Foy smiling. Then he added, " But 
why do you not accompany us on this adventure ? You 
are in danger here, and even if we get clear with the 
treasure, what use is money without life ? " 

" To me none, any way," answered Brant ; " but you do 
not understand. I live in the midst of spies, I am watched 
day and night; although I came here disguised and secretly, 
it is probable that even my presence in this house is known. 
More, there is an order out that if I attempt to leave the 
town by land or water, I am to be seized, whereon my house 
will be searched instantly, and it will be found that my 



206 LYSBETH 

bullion is gone. Think, lad, how great is this wealth, and 
you will understand why the crows are hungry. It is 
talked of throughout the Netherlands, it has been reported 
to the King in Spain, and I learn that orders have come 
from him concerning its seizure. But there is another 
band who would get hold of it first, Eamiro and his crew, 
and that is why I have been left safe so long, because the 
thieves strive one against the other and watch each other. 
Most of all, however, they watch me and everything that 
is mine. For though they do not believe that I should 
send the treasure away and stay behind, yet they are not 
sure." 

" You think that they will pursue us then ? " asked Foy. 

"For certain. Messengers arrived from Leyden to an- 
nounce your coming two hours before you set foot in the 
town, and it will be wonderful indeed if you leave it with- 
out a band of cut-throats at your heels. Be not deceived, 
lad, this business is no light one." 

"You say the little boat sails fast, master?" queried 
Martin. 

" She sails fast, but perhaps others are as swift. More- 
over, it may happen that you will find the mouth of the 
canal blocked by the guardship, which was sent there a week 
ago with orders to search every craft that passes from stem 
to stern. Or you may slip past her." 

" My master and I are not afraid of a few blows," said 
Martin, " and we are ready to take our risks like brave men; 
still, Mynheer Brant, this seems to me a hazardous busi- 
ness, and one in which your money may well get itself lost. 
Now, I ask you, would it not be better to take this treasure 
out of the boat where you have hidden it, and bury it, and 
convey it away by land ? " 

Brant shook his head. "I have thought of that," he 
said, " as I have thought of everything, but it cannot now 
be done ; also there is no time to make fresh plans." 






MOTHER'S GIFTS ARE GOOD GIFTS 207 

"Why?" asked Foy. 

" Because day and night men are watching the boats 
which are known to belong to me, although they are regis- 
tered in other names, and only this evening an order was 
signed that they must be searched within an hour of dawn. 
My information is good, as it should be since I pay for it 
dearly." 

"Then," said Foy, "there is nothing more to be said. 
We will try to get to the boat and try to get her away ; and 
if we can get her away we will try to hide the treasure, and 
if we can't we will try to blow her up as you direct and try 
to escape ourselves. Or " and he shrugged his shoulders. 

Martin said nothing, only he shook his great red head, 
nor did the silent pilot at the table speak at all. 

Hendrik Brant looked at them, and his pale, careworn 
face began to work. " Have I the right ? " he muttered to 
himself, and for an instant or two bent his head as though 
in prayer. When he lifted it again his mind seemed to be 
made up. 

"Foy van Goorl," he said, "listen to me, and tell your 
father, my cousin and executor, what I say, since I have 
no time to write it ; tell him word for word. You are 
wondering why I do not let this pelf take its chance with- 
out risking the lives of men to save it. It is because some- 
thing in my heart pushes me to another path. It may be 
imagination, but I am a man standing on the edge of the 
grave, and to such I have known it given to see the future. 
I think that you will win through with the treasure, Foy, 
and that it will be the means of bringing some wicked ones 
to their doom. Yes, and more, much more, but what it is 
I cannot altogether see. Yet I am quite certain that thou- 
sands and tens of thousands of our folk will live to bless 
the gold of Hendrik Brant, and that is why I work so hard 
to save it from the Spaniards. Also that is why I ask you 
to risk your lives to-night ; not for the wealth's sake, for 



208 LYSBETH 

wealth is dross, but for what the wealth will buy in days to 
come." 

He paused a while, then went on : " I think also, cousin, 
that being, they tell me, unaffianced, you will learn to love, 
and not in vain, that dear child of mine, whom I leave in 
your father's keeping and in yours. More, since time is 
short and we shall never meet again, I say to you plainly, 
that the thought is pleasing to me, young cousin Foy, for 
I have a good report of you and like your blood and looks. 
Eemember always, however dark may be your sky, that 
before he passed to doom Hendrik Brant had this vision 
concerning you and the daughter whom he loves, and 
whom you will learn to love as do all who knoAV her. Ke- 
member also that priceless things are not lightly won, and 
do not woo her for her fortune, since, I tell you, this 
belongs not to her but to our people and our cause, and 
when the hour comes, for them it must be used." 

Foy listened wondering, but he made no answer, for he 
knew not what to say. Yet now, on the edge of his first 
great adventure, these words were comfortable to him who 
had found already that Elsa's eyes were bright. Brant 
next turned towards Martin, but that worthy shook his red 
beard and stepped back a pace. 

"Thank you kindly, master," he said, "but I will do 
without the prophecies, which, good or ill, are things that 
fasten upon a man's mind. Once an astrologer cast my 
nativity, and foretold that I should be drowned before I 
was twenty-five. I wasn't, but, my faith ! the miles 
which I have walked round to bridges on account of that 
astrologer." 

Brant smiled. "I have no foresight concerning you, 
good friend, except that I judge your arm will be always 
strong in battle ; that you will love your masters well, and 
use your might to avenge the cause of God's slaughtered 
saints upon their murderers." 



MOTHER'S GIFTS ARE GOOD GIFTS 209 

Martin nodded his head vigorously, and fumbled at the 
handle of the sword Silence, while Brant went on : 

"Friend, you have entered on a dangerous quarrel on 
behalf of me and mine, and if you live through it you will 
have earned high pay." 

Then he went to the table, and, taking writing mate- 
rials, he wrote as follows : " To the Heer Dirk van Goorl 
and his heirs, the executors of my will, and the holders of 
my fortune, which is to be used as God shall show them. 
This is to certify that in payment of this night's work 
Martin, called the Red, the servant of the said Dirk van 
Goorl, or those heirs whom he may appoint, is entitled 
to a sum of five thousand florins, and I constitute such 
sum a first charge upon my estate, to whatever purpose 
they may put it in their discretion." This document he 
dated, signed, and caused the pilot Hans to sign also as a 
witness. Then he gave it to Martin, who thanked him by 
touching his forehead, remarking at the same time 

"After all, fighting is not a bad trade if you only stick 
to it long enough. Five thousand florins ! I never thought 
to earn so much." 

" You haven't got it yet," interrupted Foy. " And now, 
what are you going to do with that paper ? " 

Martin reflected. "Coat?" he said, "no, a man takes 
off his eoat if it is hot, and it might be left behind. Boots ? 
no, that would wear it out, especially if they got wet. 
Jersey ? sewn next the skin, no, same reason. Ah ! I have 
it," and, drawing out the great sword Silence, he took the 
point of his knife and began to turn a little silver screw in 
the hilt, one of many with which the handle of walrus ivory 
was fastened to its steel core. The screw came out, and he 
touched a spring, whereon one quarter of the ivory casing 
fell away, revealing a considerable hollow in the hilt, for, 
although Martin grasped it with one hand, the sword was 
made to be held by two. 
14 



210 LYSBETH 

" What is that hole for ? " asked Foy. 

"The executioner's drug," replied Martin, "which 
makes a man happy while he does his business with him, 
that is, if he can pay the fee. He offered his dose to me, 
I remember, before " Here Martin stopped, and, having 
rolled up the parchment, hid it in the hollow. 

"You might lose your sword," suggested Foy. 

"Yes, master, when I lose my life and exchange the 
hope of florins for a golden crown," replied Martin with a 
grin. " Till then I do not intend to part with Silence." 

Meanwhile Hendrik Brant had been whispering to the 
quiet man at the table, who noAV rose and said : 

" Foster-brother, do not trouble about me ; I take my 
chance and I do not wish to survive you. My wife is burnt, 
one of my girls out there is married to a man who knows 
how to protect them both, also the dowries you gave them 
are far away and safe. Do not trouble about me who have 
but one desire to snatch the great treasure from the maw 
of the Spaniard that in a day to come it may bring doom 
upon the Spaniard." Then he relapsed into a silence, 
which spread over the whole company. 

" It is time to be stirring," said Brant presently. " Hans, 
you will lead the way. I must bide here a while before I go 
abroad and show myself." 

The pilot nodded. "Keady?" he asked, addressing 
Foy and Martin. Then he went to the door and whistled, 
whereon Red Bow with her pretended servant entered the 
vault. He spoke a word or two to them and kissed them 
each upon the brow. Next he went to Hendrik Brant, 
and throwing his arms about him, embraced him with far 
more passion than he had shown towards his own daugh- 
ters. 

"Farewell, foster-brother," he said, "till we meet again 
here or hereafter it matters little which. Have no fear, 
we will get the stuff through to England if may be, or send 



MOTHER'S GIFTS ARE GOOD GIFTS 211 

it to hell with some Spaniards to seek it there. Now, 
comrades, come on and stick close to me, and if any try to 
stop us cut them down. When we reach the hoat do you 
take the oars and row while I steer her. The girls come 
with us to the canal, arm-in-arm with the two of you. If 
anything happens to me either of them can steer you to the 
skiff called Swallow, but if naught happens we will put 
them ashore at the next wharf. Come," and he led the 
way from the cellar. 

At the threshold Foy turned to look at Hendrik Brant. 
He was standing by the table, the light shining full upon 
his pale face and grizzled head, about which it seemed to 
cast a halo. Indeed, at that moment, wrapped in his long, 
dark cloak, his lips moving in prayer, and his arms uplifted 
to bless them as they went, he might well have been, not a 
man, but some vision of a saint come back to earth. The 
door closed and Foy never saw him again, for ere long the 
Inquisition seized him and a while afterwards he died be- 
neath their cruel hands. One of the charges against him 
was, that more than twenty years before, he had been seen 
reading the Bible at Ley den by Black Meg, who appeared 
and gave the evidence. But they did not discover where 
his treasure was hidden away. To win an easier death, 
indeed, he made them a long confession that took them a 
still longer journey, but of the truth of the matter he knew 
nothing, and therefore could tell them nothing. 

Now this scene, so strange and pathetic, ended at last, 
the five of them were in the darkness of the street. Here 
once more Foy and Red Bow clung to each other, and once 
more the arm of Martin was about the neck of her who 
seemed to be the serving-maid, while ahead, as though he 
were paid to show the way, went the pilot. Soon foot- 
steps were heard, for folk were after them. They turned 
once, they turned twice, they reached the bank of a canal, 
and Hans, followed by Bed Bow and her sister, descended 



212 LYSBETH 

some steps and climbed into a boat which lay there ready. 
Next came Martin, and, last of all, Foy. As he set foot 
upon the first step, a figure shot out of the gloom towards 
him, a knife gleamed in the air and a blow took him be- 
tween the shoulders that sent him tumbling headlong, for 
he was balanced upon the edge of the step. 

But Martin had heard and seen. He swung round and 
struck out with the sword Silence. The assassin was far 
from him, still the tip of the long steel reached the out- 
stretched murderous hand, and from it fell a broken knife, 
while he who held it sped on with a screech of pain. Martin 
darted back and seized the knife, then he leapt into the 
boat and pushed off. At the bottom of it lay Foy, who 
had fallen straight into the arms of Ked Bow, dragging her 
down with him. 

" Are you hurt, master ? " asked Martin. 

" Not a bit," replied Foy, " but I am afraid the lady is. 
She went undermost." 

"Mother's gifts are good gifts!" muttered Martin as 
he pulled him and the girl, whose breath had been knocked 
out of her, up to a seat. " You ought to have an eight-inch 
hole through you, but that knife broke upon the shirt. 
Look here," and he threw the handle of the dagger on to 
his knees and snatched at the sculls. 

Foy examined it in the faint light, and there, still hooked 
above the guard, was a single severed finger, a long and 
skinny finger, to which the point of the sword Silence had 
played surgeon, and on it a gold ring. " This may be use- 
ful," thought Foy, as he slipped handle and finger into the 
pocket of his cloak. 

Then they all took oars and rowed till presently they 
drew near a wharf. 

" Now, daughters, make ready," said Hans, and the girls 
stood up. As they touched the wharf Red Bow bent down 
and kissed Foy. 



MOTHER'S GIFTS ARE GOOD GIFTS 213 

"The rest were in play, this is in earnest," she said, 
" and for luck. Good-night, companion, and think of me 
sometimes." 

" Good -night, companion," answered Foy, returning the 
kiss. Then she leapt ashore. They never met again. 

" You know what to do, girls," said Hans ; "do it, and 
in three days you should be safe in England, where, per- 
haps, I may meet you, though do not count on that. "What- 
ever happens, keep honest, and remember me till we come 
together again, here or hereafter, but, most of all, remem- 
ber your mother and your benefactor Hendrik Brant. Fare- 
well." 

"Farewell, father," they answered with a sob, and the 
boat drifted off down the dark canal, leaving the two of 
them alone upon the wharf. Afterwards Foy discovered 
that it was the short sister who walked with Martin that 
was married. Gallant little Eed Bow married also, but 
later. Her husband was a cloth merchant in London, and 
her grandson became Lord Mayor of that city. 

And now, having played their part in it, these two brave 
girls are out of the story. 



CHAPTER XIV 

SWORD SILENCE RECEIVES THE SECRET 

FOR half an hour or more they glided down the canal 
unmolested and in silence. Now it ran into a broader 
waterway along which they slid towards the sea, keeping as 
much as possible under the shadow of one bank, for although 
the night was moonless a faint grey light lay upon the sur- 
face of the stream. At length Foy became aware that 
they were bumping against the sides of a long line of barges 
and river boats laden with timber and other goods. To one 
of these it was the fourth the pilot Hans made fast, tying 
their row-boat to her stern. Then he climbed to the deck, 
whispering to them to follow. 

As they scrambled on board, two grey figures arose and 
Foy saw the flash of steel. Then Hans whistled like a 
plover, and dropping their swords they came to him and 
fell into talk. Presently Hans left them, and, returning 
to Foy and Martin, said : 

" Listen: we must lie here a while, for the wind is against 
us, and it would be too dangerous for us to try to row or 
pole so big a boat down to the sea and across the bar in the 
darkness, for most likely we should set her fast upon a 
shoal. Before dawn it will turn, and, if I read the sky 
aright, blow hard off land." 

" What have the bargemen to say ? " asked Foy. 

" Only that for these four days they have been lying here 
forbidden to move, and that their craft are to be searched 
to-morrow by a party of soldiers, and the cargo taken out 
of them piecemeal." 



SWORD SILENCE RECEIVES THE SECRET 215 

"So," said Foy, "well, I hope that by then what they 
seek will be far away. Now show us this ship." 

Then Hans took them down the hatchway, for the little 
vessel was decked, being in shape and size not unlike a 
modern Norfolk herring boat, though somewhat more 
slightly built. Then having lit a lantern, he showed them 
the cargo. On the top were bags of salt. Dragging one 
or two of these aside, Hans uncovered the heads of five bar- 
rels, each of them marked with the initial B in white 
paint. 

" That is what men will die for before to-morrow night," 
he said. 

" The treasure ? " asked Toy. 

He nodded. "These five, none of the others." Then 
still lower down he pointed out other barrels, eight of them, 
filled with the best gunpowder, and showed them too where 
the slow matches ran to the little cabin, the cook's galley, 
the tiller and the prow, by means of any one of which it 
could be fired. After this and such inspection of the ropes 
and sails as the light would allow, they sat in the cabin 
waiting till the wind should change, while the two watch- 
men unmoored the vessel and made her sails ready for hoist- 
ing. An hour passed, and still the breeze blew from the sea, 
but in uncertain chopping gusts. Then it fell altogether. 

" Pray God it comes soon," said Martin, " for the owner 
of that finger in your pocket will have laid the hounds on 
to our slot long ago, and, look ! the east grows red." 

The silent, hard-faced Hans leant forward and stared up 
the darkling water, his hand behind his ear. 

" I hear them," he said presently. 

" Who ? " asked Foy. 

"The Spaniards and the wind both," he answered. 
" Come, up with the mainsail and pole her out to mid- 
steam. " 

So the three of them took hold of the tackle and ran aft 



216 LYSBETH 

with it, while the rings and booms creaked and rattled as 
the great canvas climbed the mast. Presently it was set, 
and after it the jib. Then, assisted by the two watchmen 
thrusting from another of the boats, they pushed the Sival- 
loiv from her place in the line out into mid-stream. But 
all this made noise and took time, and now men appeared 
upon the bank, calling to know who dared to move the boats 
without leave. As no one gave them any answer, they fired 
a shot, and presently a beacon began to burn upon a neigh- 
bouring mound. 

"Bad business," said Hans, shrugging his shoulders. 
"They are warning the Government ship at the harbour 
mouth. Duck, masters, duck ; here comes the wind," 
and he sprang to the tiller as the boom swung over and the 
little vessel began to gather way. 

"Yes," said Martin, "and here with it come the Span- 
iards." 

Foy looked. Through the grey mist that was growing 
lighter every moment, for the dawn was breaking, he caught 
sight of a long boat with her canvas spread which was 
sweeping round the bend of the stream towards them and 
not much more than a quarter of a mile away. 

" They have had to pole down stream in the dark, and 
that is why they have been so long in coming," said Hans 
over his shoulder. 

"Well, they are here now at any rate," answered Foy, 
" and plenty of them," he added, as a shout from a score of 
throats told them that they were discovered. 

But now the Swallow had begun to fly, making the water 
hiss upon either side of her bows. 

" How far is it to the sea ? " asked Foy. 

"About three miles," Hans called back from the tiller. 
" With this wind we should be there in fifteen minutes. 
Master," he added presently, " bid your man light the fire 
in the galley." 



" What for," asked Foy, " to cook breakfast? " 

The pilot shrugged his shoulders and muttered, "Yes, 
if we live to eat it." But Foy saw that he was glancing at 
the slow-match by his side, and understood. 

Ten minutes passed, and they had swept round the last 
bend and were in the stretch of open water which ran down 
to the sea. By now the light was strong, and in it they 
saw that the signal fire had not been lit in vain. At the 
mouth of the cutting, just where the bar began, the chan- 
nel was narrowed in with earth to a width of not more than 
fifty paces, and on one bank of it stood a fort armed with 
culverins. Out of the little harbour of this fort a large 
open boat was being poled, and in it a dozen or fifteen sol- 
diers were hastily arming themselves. 

" What now ? " cried Martin. " They are going to stop 
the mouth of the channel." 

The hard-featured Hans set his teeth and made no an- 
swer. Only he looked backward at his pursuers and on- 
ward at those who barred the way. Presently he called 
aloud : 

"Under hatches, both of you. They are going to fire 
from the fort," and he flung himself upon his back, steer- 
ing with his uplifted arms. 

Foy and Martin tumbled down the hatchway, for they 
could do no good on deck. Only Foy kept one eye above 
its level. 

" Look out! " he said, and ducked. 

As he spoke there was a puff of white smoke from the 
fort, followed by the scream of a shot which passed ahead 
of them. Then came another puff of smoke, and a hole 
appeared in their brown sail. After this the fort did not 
fire again, for the gunners found no time to load their 
pieces, only some soldiers who were armed with arquebuses 
began to shoot as the boat swept past within a few yards of 
them. Heedless of their bullets, Hans the pilot rose to his 



218 LYSBETH 

feet again, for such work as was before him could not be 
done by a man lying on his back. By now the large open 
boat from the fort was within two hundred yards of them, 
and, driven by the gathering gale, the Swalloio rushed to- 
wards it with the speed of a dart. Foy and Martin crawled 
from the hatchway and lay down near the steersman under 
the shelter of the little bulwarks, watching the enemy's 
boat, which was in midstream just where the channel was 
narrowest, and on the hither side of the broken water of 
the bar. 

"See," said Foy, "they are throwing out anchors fore 
and aft. Is there room to go past them ? " 

" No," answered Hans, " the water is too shallow under 
the bank, and they know it. Bring me a burning 
brand." 

Foy crept forward, and returned with the fire. 

"Now light the slow-match, master." 

Foy opened his blue eyes and a cold shiver went down 
his back. Then he set his teeth and obeyed. Martin 
looked at Hans, muttering, 

" Good for a young one! " 

Hans nodded and said, " Have no fear. Till that match 
burns to the level of the deck we are safe. Now, mates, 
hold fast. I can't go past that boat, so I am going through 
her. We may sink on the other side, though I am sure 
that the fire will reach the powder first. In that case you 
can swim for it if you like, but I shall go with the 
Swallow." 

" I will think about it when the time comes. Oh! that 
cursed astrologer," growled Martin, looking back at the 
pursuing ship, which was not more than seven or eight 
hundred yards away. 

Meanwhile the officer in command of the boat, who was 
armed with a musket, was shouting to them to pull down 
their sail and surrender ; indeed, not until they were 



SWORD SILENCE RECEIVES THE SECRET 219 

within fifty yards of him did he seem to understand their 
desperate purpose. Then some one in the boat called out : 
"The devils are going to sink us/' and there was a rush 
to bow and stern to get up the anchors. Only the officer 
stood firm, screaming at them like a madman. It was too 
late ; a strong gust of wind caught the Swallow, causing 
her to heel over and sweep down on the boat like a swoop- 
ing falcon. 

Hans stood and shifted the tiller ever so little, calcu- 
lating all things with his eye. Foy watched the boat 
towards which they sprang like a thing alive, and Martin, 
lying at his side, watched the burning match. 

Suddenly the Spanish officer, when their prow was not 
more than twenty paces from him, ceased to shout, and 
lifting his piece fired. Martin, looking upwards with 
his left eye, thought that he saw Hans flinch, but the pilot 
made no sound. Only he did something to the tiller, put- 
ting all his strength on to it, and it seemed to the pair of 
them as though the Swallow was for an instant checked in 
her flight certainly her prow appeared to lift itself from 
the water. Suddenly there was a sound of something snap- 
ping a sound that could be heard even through the yell 
of terror from the soldiers in the boat. It was the bow- 
sprit which had gone, leaving the jib flying loose like a 
great pennon. 

Then came the crash. Foy shut his eyes for a moment, 
hanging on with both hands till the scraping and the trem- 
bling were done with. Now he opened them again, and the 
first thing he saw was the body of the Spanish officer hanging 
from the jagged stump of the bowsprit. He looked behind. 
The boat had vanished, but in the water were to be seen 
the heads of three or four men swimming. As for them- 
selves they seemed to be clear and unhurt, except for the 
loss of their bowsprit ; indeed, the little vessel was riding 
over the seas on the bar like any swan. Hans glanced at 



220 LYSBETH 

the slow-match which was smouldering away perilously near 
to the deck, whereon Martin stamped upon it, saying : 

" If we sink now it will be in deep water, so there is no 
need to fly up before we go down." 

" Go and see if she leaks," said Hans. 

They went and searched the forehold but could not find 
that the Swallow had taken any harm worth noting. In- 
deed, her massive oaken prow, with the weight of the gale- 
driven ship behind it, had crashed through the frail sides 
of the open Spanish boat like a knife through an egg. 

" That was good steering," said Foy to Hans, when they 
returned, "and nothing seems to be amiss." 

Hans nodded. " I hit him neatly," he muttered. "Look. 
He's gone." As he spoke the Swallow gave a sharp pitch, 
and the corpse of the Spaniard fell with a heavy splash into 
the sea. 

" I am glad it has sunk," said Foy ; " and now let's 
have some breakfast, for I am starving. Shall I bring you 
some, friend Hans ? " 

" No, master, I want to sleep." 

Something in the tone of the man's voice caused Foy to 
scrutinise his face. His lips were turning blue. He 
glanced at his hands. Although they still grasped the 
tiller tightly, these also were turning blue, as though with 
cold ; moreover, blood was dropping on the deck. 

" You are hit," he said. " Martin, Martin, Hans is hit ! " 

" Yes," replied the man, " he hit me and I hit him, and 
perhaps presently we shall be talking it over together. No, 
don't trouble, it is through the body and mortal. Well, I 
expected nothing less, so I can't complain. Now, listen, 
while my strength holds. Can you lay a course for Har- 
wich in England ? " 

Martin and Foy shook their heads. Like most Hol- 
landers they were good sailormen, but they only knew their 
own coasts. 



SWORD SILENCE RECEIVES THE SECRET 221 

" Then you had best not try it," said Hans, " for there is 
a gale brewing, and you will be driven on the Goodwin 
Sands, or somewhere down that shore, and drowned and 
the treasure lost. Kun up to the Haarlem Mere, com- 
rades. You can hug the land with this small boat, while 
that big devil after you," and he nodded towards the pur- 
suing vessel, which by now was crossing the bar, ' ' must 
stand further out beyond the shoals. Then slip up through 
the small gut the ruined farmstead marks it and so into 
the mere. You know Mother Martha, the mad woman 
who is nicknamed the Mare ? She will be watching at the 
mouth of it ; she always is. Moreover, I caused her to be 
warned that we might pass her way, and if you hoist the 
white flag with a red cross it lies in the locker or, after 
nightfall, hang out four lamps upon your starboard side, 
she will come aboard to pilot you, for she knows this boat 
well. To her also you can tell your business without fear, 
for she will help you, and be secret as the dead. Then 
bury the treasure, or sink it, or blow it up, or do what you 
can, but, in the name of God, to whom I go, I charge you 
do not let it fall into the hands of Eamiro and his Spanish 
rats who are at your heels." 

As Hans spoke he sank down upon the deck. Foy ran 
to support him, but he pushed him aside with a feeble 
hand. " Let me be," he whispered. " I wish to pray. I 
have set you the course. Follow it to the end." 

Then Martin took the tiller while Foy watched Hans. 
In ten minutes he was dead. 

Now they were running northwards with a fierce wind 
abeam of them, and the larger Spanish ship behind, but 
standing further out to sea to avoid the banks. Half an 
hour later the wind, which was gathering to a gale, shifted 
several points to the north, so that they must beat up 
against it under reefed canvas. Still they held on without 
accident, Foy attending to the sail and Martin steering. 



222 LYSBETH 

The Swallow was a good sea boat, and if their progress was 
slow so was that of their pursuer, which dogged them con- 
tinually, sometimes a mile away and sometimes less. At 
length, towards evening, they caught sight of a ruined 
house that marked the channel of the little gut, one of the 
outlets of the Haarlem Mere. 

" The sea runs high upon the bar and it is ebb tide," 
said Foy. 

" Even so we must try it, master," answered Martin. 
" Perhaps she will scrape through," and he put the Swal- 
low about and ran for the mouth of the gut. 

Here the waves were mountainous, and much water 
came aboard. Moreover, three times they bumped upon 
the bar, till at length, to their joy, they found themselves 
in the calm stream of the gut, and, by shifting the sail, 
were able to draw up it, though very slowly. 

"At least we have got a start of them," said Foy, "for 
they can never get across until the tide rises." 

" We shall need it all," answered Martin ; " so now hoist 
the white flag and let us eat while we may." 

While they ate the sun sank, and the wind blew so that 
scarcely could they make a knot an hour, shift the sail as 
they might. Then, as there was no sign of Mother Martha, 
or any other pilot, they hung out the four lamps upon the 1 
starboard' side, and, with a flapping sail, drifted on gradu- 
ally, till at length they reached the mouth of the great 
mere, an infinite waste of waters deep in some places, 
shallow in others, and spotted everywhere with islets. Now 
the wind turned against them altogether, and, the dark- 
ness closing in, they were forced to drop anchor, fearing 
lest otherwise they should go ashore. One comfort they 
had, however: as yet nothing could be seen of their pur- 
suers. 

Then, for the first time, their spirits failed them a 
little, and they stood together near the stern wondering 



SWORD SILENCE RECEIVES THE SECRET 223 

what they should do. It was while they rested thus that 
suddenly a figure appeared before them as though it had 
risen from the deck of the ship. No sound of oars or foot- 
steps had reached their ears, yet there, outlined against the 
dim sky, was the figure. 

" I think that friend Hans has come to life again," said 
Martin with a slight quaver in his voice, for Martin was 
terribly afraid of ghosts. 

" And I think that a Spaniard has found us," said Foy, 
drawing his knife. 

Then a hoarse voice spoke, saying, " "Who are you that 
signal for a pilot on my waters ? " 

" The question is who are you ? " answered Foy, " and 
be so good as to tell us quickly." 

"I am the pilot," said the voice, "and this boat by the 
rig of her and her signals should be the Swallow of The 
Hague, but why must I crawl aboard of her across the 
corpse of a dead man ? " 

" Come into the cabin, pilot, and we will tell you," said 
Foy. 

"Very well, Mynheer." So Foy led the way to the 
cabin, but Martin stopped behind awhile. 

" We have found our guide, so what is the use of the 
lamps?" he said to himself as he extinguished them all, 
except one which he brought with him into the cabin. Foy 
was waiting for him by the door and they entered the 
place together. At the end of it the light of the lamp 
showed them a strange figure clad in skins so shapeless and 
sack-like that it was impossible to say whether the form be- 
neath were male or female. The figure was bareheaded, 
and about the brow locks of grizzled hair hung in tufts. The 
face, in which were set a pair of wandering grey eyes, was 
deep cut, tanned brown by exposure, scarred, and very 
ugly, with withered lips and projecting teeth. 

" Good even to you, Dirk van Goorl's son, and to you, 



224 LYSBETH 

Bed Martin. I am Mother Martha, she whom the Span- 
iards call the Mare and the Lake- witch." 

"Little need to tell us that, mother," said Foy, "al- 
though it is true that many years have gone by since I set 
eyes on you." 

Martha smiled grimly as she answered, "Yes, many 
years. Well, what have you fat Leyden burghers to do with 
a poor old night-hag, except of course in times of trouble ? 
Not that I blame you, for it is not well that you, or your 
parents either, should be known to traffic with such as I. 
Now, what is your business with me, for the signals show 
that you have business, and why does the corpse of Hendrik 
Brant's foster-brother lie there in the stern ? " 

" Because, to be plain, we have Hendrik Brant's treasure 
on board, mother, and for the rest look yonder " and he 
pointed to what his eye had just caught sight of two or 
three miles away, a faint light, too low and too red for 
a star, that could only come from a lantern hung at the 
masthead of a ship. 

Martha nodded. " Spaniards after you, poling through 
the gut against the wind. Come on, there is no time to 
lose. Bring your boat round, and we will tow the Swallow 
to where she will lie safe to-night." 

Five minutes later they were all three of them row- 
ing the oar boat in which they had escaped from The 
Hague towards some unknown point in the darkness, 
slowly dragging after them the little ship Sivalloiv. As 
they went, Foy told Martha all the story of their mission 
and escape. 

"I have heard of this treasure before," she said, "all 
the Netherlands has heard of Brant's hoard. Also dead 
Hans there let me know that perhaps it might come this 
way, for in such matters he thought that I could be 
trusted," and she smiled grimly. " And now what would 
you do ? " 



SWORD SILENCE RECEIVES TEE SECRET 223 

" Fulfil our orders," said Foy. " Hide it il we can ; if 
not, destroy it." 

"Better the first than the last," interrupted Martin. 
" Hide the treasure, say I, and destroy the Spaniards, if 
Mother Martha here can think of a plan." 

" "We might sink the ship," suggested Foy. 

"And leave her mast for a beacon," added Martin sar- 
castically. 

" Or put the stuff into the boat and sink that." 

"And never find it again in this great sea," objected 
Martin. 

All this while Martha steered the boat as calmly as 
though it were daylight. They had left the open water, 
and were passing slowly in and out among islets, yet she 
never seemed to be doubtful or to hesitate. At length 
they felt the Swallow behind them take the mud gently, 
whereon Martha led the way aboard of her and threw out 
the anchor, saying that here was her berth for the night. 

" Now," she said, " bring up this gold and lay it in the 
boat, for if you would save it there is much to do before dawn. " 

So Foy and Martin went down while Martha, hanging 
over the hatchway, held the lighted lamp above them, since 
they dared not take it near the powder. Moving the bags 
of salt, soon they came to the five barrels of treasure marked 
B, and, strong though they were, it was no easy task for 
the pair of them by the help of a pulley to sling them over 
the ship's side into the boat. At last it was done, and the 
place of the barrels having been filled with salt bags, they 
took two iron spades which were provided for such a task 
as this, and started, Martha steering as before. For an 
hour or more they rowed in and out among endless islands, 
at the dim shores of which Martha stared as they passed, 
till at length she motioned to them to ship their oars, and 
they touched ground. 

Leaping from the boat she made it fast and vanished 



226 LYSBETH 

among the reeds to reconnoitre. Presently she returned 
again, saying that this was the place. Then began the 
heavy labour of rolling the casks of treasure for thirty 
yards or more along otter paths that pierced the dense 
growth of reeds. 

Now, having first carefully cut out reed sods in a place 
chosen by Martha, Foy and Martin set to their task of dig- 
ging a great hole by the light of the stars. Hard indeed 
they toiled at it, yet had it not been for the softness of the 
marshy soil, they could not have got done while the night 
lasted, for the grave that would contain those barrels must 
be both wi'de and deep. After three feet of earth had been 
removed, they came to the level of the lake, and for the 
rest of the time worked in water, throwing up shovelfuls of 
mud. Still at last it was done, and the five barrels stand- 
ing side by side in the water were covered up with soil and 
roughly planted over with the reed turf. 

" Let us be going," said Martha. " There is no time to 
lose." So they straightened their backs and wiped the 
sweat from their brows. 

" There is earth lying about, which may tell its story," 
said Martin. 

" Yes," she replied, " if any see it within the next ten 
days, after which in this damp place the mosses will have 
hidden it." 

"Well, we have done our best," said Foy, as he washed 
his mud-stained boots in the water, "and now the stuff 
must take its chance." 

Then once more they entered the boat and rowed away 
somewhat wearily, Martha steering them. 

On they went and on, till Foy, tired out, nearly fell 
asleep at his oar. Suddenly Martha tapped him on the 
shoulder. He looked up and there, not two hundred yards 
away, its tapering mast showing dimly against the sky, was 
the vessel that had pursued them from The Hague, a single 



SWORD SILENCE RECEIVES THE SECRET 227 

lantern burning on its stern. Martha looked and grunted ; 
then she leant forward and whispered to them, imperiously. 

" It is madness," gasped Martin. 

"Do as I bid you," she hissed, and they let the boat 
drift with the wind till it came to a little island within 
thirty yards of the anchored vessel, an island with a willow 
tree growing upon its shore. " Hold to the twigs of the 
tree," she muttered, "and wait till I come again." Not 
knowing what else to do, they obeyed. 

Then Martha rose and they saw that she had slipped off 
her garment of skins, and stood before them, a gaunt 
white figure armed with a gleaming knife. Next she put 
the knife to her mouth, and, nipping it between her teeth, 
slid into the water silently as a diving bird. A minute 
passed, not more, and they saw that something was climb- 
ing up the cable of the ship. 

" What is she going to do ? " whispered Foy. 

" God in Heaven knows," answered Martin, " but if she 
does not come back good-bye to Heer Brant's treasure, for 
she alone can find it again." 

They waited, holding their breaths, till presently a 
curious choking sound floated to them, and the lantern on 
the ship vanished. Two minutes later a hand with a 
knife in it appeared over the gunwale of the boat, followed 
by a grey head. Martin put out his great arm and lifted, 
and, lo ! the white form slid down between them like a big 
salmon turned out of a net. 

" Put about and row," it gasped, and they obeyed while 
the Mare clothed herself again in her skin garment. 

" What have you done ? " asked Foy. 

" Something," she replied with a fierce chuckle. "I 
have stabbed the watchman he thought I was a ghost, and 
was too frightened to call out. I have cut the cable, and 
I think that I have fired the ship. Ah ! look ! but row-^ 
row round the corner of the island," 



228 LYSBETH 

They gave way, and as they turned the bank of reeds 
glanced behind them, to see a tall tongue of fire shooting 
up the cordage of the ship, and to hear a babel of frightened 
and angry voices. 

Ten minutes later they were on board the Sivallow, and 
from her deck watching the fierce flare of the burning 
Spanish vessel nearly a mile away. Here they ate and 
drank, for they needed food badly. 

"What shall we do now?" asked Foy when they had 
finished. 

" Nothing at present," answered Martha, " but give me 
pen and paper." 

They found them, and having shrouded the little window 
of the cabin, she sat at the table and very slowly but with 
much skill drew a plan, or rather a picture, of this por- 
tion of the Haarlem Mere. In that plan were marked 
many islands according to their natural shapes, twenty of 
them perhaps, and upon one of these she set a cross. 

"Take it and hide it," said Martha, when it was fin- 
ished, " so that if I die you may know where to dig for 
Brant's gold. "With this in your hand you cannot fail to 
find it, for I draw well. Remember that it lies thirty 
paces due south of the only spot where it is easy to land 
upon that island." 

" What shall I do with this picture which is worth so 
much? " said Foy helplessly, " for in truth I fear to keep 
the thing." 

"Give it to me, master," said Martin ; "the secret of 
the treasure may as well lie with the legacy that is charged 
on it." Then once more he unscrewed the handle of the 
sword Silence, and having folded up the paper and wrapped 
it round with a piece of linen, he thrust it away into the 
hollow hilt. 

" Now that sword is worth more than some people might 
think," Martin said as he restored jt to the scabbard, " but 



SWORD SILENCE RECEIVES THE SECRET 220 

I hope that those who come to seek its secret may have to 
travel up its blade. Well, when shall we be moving ? " 

"Listen," said Martha. "Would you two men dare a 
great deed upon those Spaniards? Their ship is burnt, 
but there are a score or over of them, and they have two 
large boats. Now at the dawn they will see the mast of 
this vessel and attack it in the boats thinking to find the 
treasure. Well, if as they win aboard we can manage to 
fire the matches v 

"There may be fewer Spaniards left to plague us," 
suggested Foy. 

"And believing it to be blown up no one will trouble 
about that money further," added Martin. "Oh! the 
plan is good, but dangerous. Come, let us talk it over." 

The dawn broke in a flood of yellow light on the surface 
of the Haarlem Mere. Presently from the direction of the 
Spanish vessel, Avhich was still burning sullenly, came a 
sound of beating oars. Now the three watchers in the 
Swallow saw two boatloads of armed men, one of them with 
a small sail set, swooping down towards them. When they 
were within a hundred yards Martha muttered, "It is 
time," and Foy ran hither and thither with a candle firing 
the slow-matches ; also to make sure he cast the candle 
among a few handfuls of oil-soaked shreds of canvas that 
lay ready at the bottom of the hatchway. Then with the 
others, without the Spaniards being able to see them, he 
slipped over the side of the little vessel into the shallow 
water that was clothed with tall reeds, and waded through 
it to the island. 

Once on firm land, they ran a hundred yards or so till 
they reached a clump of swamp willows, and took shelter 
behind them. Indeed, Foy did more, for he climbed the 
trunk of one of the willows high enough to see over the 
reeds to the ship Swallow and the lake beyond. By this 



280 LYSBETH 

time the Spaniards were alongside the Swallow, for he could 
hear their captain hailing him who leant over the tafirail. 
and commanding all on board to surrender under pain of 
being put to death. But from the man in the stern came 
no answer, which was scarcely strange, seeing that it was 
the dead pilot, Hans, to whom they talked in the misty 
dawn, whose body Martin had lashed thus to deceive them. 
So they fired at the pilot, who took no notice, and then 
began to clamber on board the ship. Presently all the men 
were out of the first boat that with the sail set on it ex- 
cept two, the steersman and the captain, whom, from his 
dress and demeanour, Foy took to be the one-eyed Spaniard, 
Kamiro, although of this he was too far off to make sure. 
It was certain, however, that this man did not mean to 
board the Swallow, for of a sudden he put his boat about, 
and the wind catching the sail soon drew him clear of her. 

" That fellow is cunning," said Foy to Martin and Martha 
below, " and I was a fool to light the tarred canvas, for he 
has seen the smoke drawing up the hatchway." 

" And having had enough fire for one night, thinks that 
he will leave his mates to quench it," added Martin. 

"The second boat is coming alongside," went on Foy, 
"and surely the mine should spring." 

"Scarcely time yet," answered Martin, "the matches 
were set for six minutes." 

Then followed a silence in which the three of them 
watched and listened with beating hearts. In it they heard 
a voice call out that the steersman was dead, and the an- 
swering voice of the officer in the boat, whom Foy had been 
right in supposing to be Ramiro, warning them to beware of 
treachery. Now suddenly arose a shout of "A mine! a 
mine! " for they had found one of the lighted fuses. 

" They are running for their boat," said Foy, " and the 
captain is sailing farther off. Heavens! how they scream." 

As the words passed his lips a tongue of flame shot to 



SWORD SILENCE RECEIVES TEE SECRET 231 

the very skies. The island seemed to rock, a fierce rush 
of air struck Foy and shook him from the tree. Then 
came a dreadful, thunderous sound, and lo! the sky was 
darkened with fragments of wreck, limbs of men, a grey 
cloud of salt and torn shreds of sail and cargo, which fell 
here, there, and everywhere about and beyond them. 

In five seconds it was over, and the three of them, shaken 
but unhurt, were clinging to each other on the ground. 
Then as the dark pall of smoke drifted southward Foy 
scrambled up his tree again. But now there was little to 
be seen, for the Swallow had vanished utterly, and for many 
yards round where she lay the wreckage-strewn water was 
black as ink with the stirred mud. The Spaniards had 
gone also, nothing of them was left, save the two men and 
the boat which rode unhurt at a distance. Foy stared at 
them. The steersman was seated and wringing his hands, 
while the captain, on whose armour the rays of the rising 
sun now shone brightly, held to the mast like one stunned, 
and gazed at the place where, a minute before, had been a 
ship and a troop of living men. Presently he seemed to 
recover himself, for he issued an order, whereon the boat's 
head went about, and she began to glide away. 

" Now we had best try to catch him," said Martha, who, 
by standing up, could see this also. 

"Nay, let him be," answered Foy, "we have sent 
enough men to their account," and he shuddered. 

"As you will, master," grumbled Martin, "but I tell 
you it is not wise. That man is too clever to be allowed to 
live, else he would have accompanied the others on board 
and perished with them." 

"Oh! I am sick," replied Foy. " The wind from that 
powder has shaken me. Settle it as you will with Mother 
Martha and leave me in peace." 

So Martin turned to speak with Martha, but she was 
not there. Chuckling to herself in the madness of her 



232 LTSBETR 

hate and the glory of this great revenge, she had slipped 
away, knife in hand, to discover whether perchance any of 
the powder-blasted Spaniards still lived. Fortunately for 
them they did not, the shock had killed them all, even 
those who at the first alarm had thrown themselves into the 
water. At length Martin found her clapping her hands 
and crooning above a dead body, so shattered that no one 
could tell to what manner of man it had belonged, and led 
her away. 

But although she was keen enough for the chase, by 
now it was too late, for, travelling before the strong wind, 
Ramiro and his boat had vanished. 






CHAPTER XV 

SESfOR RAMIRO 

IF Foy van Goorl, by some magic, could have seen what 
was passing in the mind of that fugitive in the boat as he 
sailed swiftly away from the scene of death and ruin, bit- 
terly indeed would he have cursed the folly and inexperience 
which led him to disregard the advice of Red Martin. 

Let us look at this man as he goes gnawing his hand in 
rage and disappointment. There is something familiar 
about his face and bearing, still gallant enough in a fash- 
ion, yet the most observant would find it difficult to recog- 
nise in the Sefior Ramiro the handsome and courtly Count 
Juan de Montalvo of over twenty years before. A long 
spell of the galleys changes the hardiest man, and by ill 
luck Montalvo, or Ramiro, to call him by his new name, 
had been forced to serve nearly his full time. He would 
have escaped earlier indeed, had he not been foolish enough 
to join in a mutiny, which was discovered and suppressed. 
It was in the course of this savage struggle for freedom 
that he lost his eye, knocked out with a belaying pin by 
an officer whom he had just stabbed. The innocent officer 
died and the rascal Ramiro recovered, but without his 
good looks. 

To a person of gentle birth, however great a scoundrel 
he might be, the galleys, which represented peual servitude 
in the sixteenth century, were a very rough school. In- 
deed for the most part the man who went into them blame- 
less became bad, and the man who went into them bad 
became worse, for, as the proverb says, those who have 



234 LYSBETB 

dwelt in hell always smell of brimstone. Who can imagine 
the awfuluess of it the chains, the arduous and continual 
labour, the whip of the quarter-masters, the company of 
thieves and outcast ruffians, all dreadful in its squalid 
sameness ? 

Well, his strength and constitution, coupled with a sort 
of grim philosophy, brought him through, and at length 
Eamiro found himself a free man, middle-aged indeed, but 
intelligent and still strong, the world once more before 
him. Yet what a world! His wife, believing him dead, or 
perhaps wishing to believe it, had remarried and gone with 
her husband to New Spain, taking his children with her, 
and his friends, such of them as lived, turned their backs 
upon him. But although he had been an unlucky man, 
for with him wickedness had not prospered, he still had 
resource and courage. 

The Count Montalvo was a penniless outlaw, a byword 
and a scorn, and so the Count Montalvo died, and was 
buried publicly in the church of his native village. Strangely 
enough, however, about the same time the Seflor Ramiro 
appeared in another part of Spain, where with success he 
practised as a notary and man of affairs. Some years went 
by thus, till at length, having realised a considerable sum 
of money by the help of an ingenious fraud, of which the 
details are superfluous, an inspiration took him and he 
sailed for the Netherlands. 

In those dreadful days, in order to further the ends of 
religious persecution and of legalised theft, informers were 
rewarded with a portion of the goods of heretics. Ra- 
miro's idea a great one in its way was to organise this in- 
forming business, and, by interesting a number of confed- 
erates who practically were shareholders in the venture, to 
sweep into his net more fortunes, or shares of fortunes, 
than a single individual, however industrious, could hope to 
secure. As he had expected, soon he found plenty of 



SEtfOR RAMIRO 285 

worthy companions, and the company was floated. For a 
while, with the help of local agencies and spies, such as 
Black Meg and the Butcher, with whom, forgetting past 
injuries, he had secretly renewed his acquaintance, it did 
very well, the dividends being large and regular. In such 
times handsome sums were realised, without risk, out of 
the properties of unfortunates who were brought to the 
stake, and still more was secured by a splendid system of 
blackmail extracted from those who wished to avoid execu- 
tion, and who, when they had been sucked dry, could 
either be burnt or let go, as might prove most convenient. 

Also there were other ways of making money by an 
intelligent method of robbery, by contracts to collect fines 
and taxes and so forth. Thus things went well, and, at 
length, after many years of suffering and poverty, the 
Seflor Ramiro, that experienced man of affairs, began to 
grow rich, until, indeed, driven forward by a natural but 
unwise ambition, a fault inherent to daring minds, he en- 
tered upon a dangerous path. 

The wealth of Hendrik Brant, the goldsmith, was a 
matter of common report, and glorious would be the for- 
tune of him who could secure its reversion. This Ramiro 
wished to win ; indeed, there was no ostensible reason why 
he should not do so, since Brant was undoubtedly a heretic, 
and, therefore, legitimate game for any honourable ser- 
vant of the Church and King. Yet there were lions in 
the path, two large and formidable lions, or rather a lion 
and the ghost of a lion, for one was material and the other 
spiritual. The material lion was that the Government, or 
in other words, his august kingship Philip, desired the 
goldsmith's thousands for himself, and was therefore likely 
to be irritated by an interloper. The spiritual lion was 
that Brant was connected with Lysbeth van Goorl, once 
known as Lysbeth de Montalvo, a lady who had brought 
her reputed husband no luck. Often and often during 



236 LYSBETR 

dreary hours of reflection beneath tropic suns, for which 
the profession of galley-slave gave great leisure, the Sefior 
Ramiro remembered that very energetic curse which his 
new affianced wife had bestowed upon him, a curse in 
which she prayed that through her he might live in heavy 
labour, that through her and hers he might be haunted 
by fears and misfortunes, and at the last die in misery. 
Looking hack upon the past it would certainly seem that 
there had been virtue in this curse, for already through 
Lysbeth and his dealings with her, he had suffered the last 
degradation and the toil, which could not be called light, 
of nearly fourteen years of daily occupation in the galleys. 

Well, he was clear of them, and thenceforward, the curse 
having exhausted itself for the time being, he had pros- 
pered at any rate to a moderate extent. But if once 
more he began to interfere with Lysbeth van Goorl and her 
relatives, might it not re-assert its power ? That was one 
question. Was it worth while to take this risk on the 
chance of securing Brant's fortune? That was another. 
Brant, it was true, was only a cousin of Lysbeth 's hus- 
band, but when once you meddled with a member of the 
family, it was impossible to know how soon other members 
would become mixed up in the affair. 

The end may be guessed. The treasure was at hand and 
enormous, whereas the wrath of a Heavenly or an earthly 
king was problematical and far away. So greed, outstrip- 
ping caution and superstitious fear, won the race, and 
Ramiro threw himself into the adventure with a resource 
and energy which in their way were splendid. 

Now, as always, he was a man who hated violence for 
its own sake. It was no wish of his that the worthy Heer 
Brant should be unnecessarily burnt or tortured. There- 
fore through his intermediaries, as Brant had narrated in 
his letter, he approached him with a proposal which, under 
the circumstances, was liberal enough that Brant should 



SEfiOR HAMIRO 237 

hand over two-thirds of his fortune to him and his confed- 
erates, on condition that he was assisted to escape with the 
remaining third. To his disgust, however, this obstinate 
Dutchman refused to buy his safety at the price of a single 
stiver. Indeed, he answered with rude energy that now as 
always he was in the hands of God, and if it pleased God 
that his life should be sacrificed and his great wealth di- 
vided amongst thieves, well, it must be so, but he, at least, 
would be no party to the arrangement. 

The details of the plots and countei'-plots, the attack of 
the Ramiro company, the defences of Brant, the interne- 
cine struggles between the members of the company and 
the agents of the Government, if set out at length, would 
fill a considerable book. Of these we already know some- 
thing, and the rest may be divined. 

In the whole course of the affair Ramiro had made but 
one mistake, and that sprang from what he was wont to 
consider the weakness of his nature. Needless to say, it 
was that he had winked at the escape of Brant's daughter, 
Elsa. It may have been superstition that prompted him, 
or it may have been pity, or perhaps it was a certain oath 
of mercy which he had taken in an hour of need ; at 
any rate, he was content that the girl should not share 
the doom which overshadowed her father. He did not 
think it at all likely that she would take with her any docu- 
ments of importance, and the treasure, of course, she could 
not take ; still, to provide against accidents he arranged 
for her to be searched upon the road. 

As we know this search was a failure, and when on the 
morrow Black Meg arrived to make report and to warn him 
that Dirk van Goorl's son and his great serving-man, 
whose strength was known throughout the Netherlands, 
were on their road to The Hague, he was sure that after all 
the girl had carried with her some paper or message. 

By this time the whereabouts of Brant's treasure had been 



238 LYSBETH 

practically solved. It was believed to lie in the string 
of vessels, although it was not known that one of these 
was laden with powder as well as gold. The plan of the 
Government agents was to search the vessels as they passed 
out to sea and seize the treasure as contraband, which 
would save much legal trouble, since under the law or the 
edicts wealth might not be shipped abroad by heretics. 
The plan of Eamiro and his friends was to facilitate the escape 
of the treasure to the open sea, where they proposed to swoop 
down upon it and convey it to more peaceful shores. 

When Foy and his party started down the canal in the 
boat Ramiro knew that his opportunity had come, and at 
once unmoored the big ship and followed. The attempted 
stabbing of Foy was not done by his orders, as he wished 
the party to go unmolested and to be kept in sight. That 
was a piece of private malice on the part of Black Meg, for 
it was she who was dressed as a man. On various occa- 
sions in Leyden Foy had made remarks upon Meg's char- 
acter which she resented, and about her personal appear- 
ance, which she resented much more, and this was an 
attempt to pay off old scores that in the issue cost her a 
finger, a good knife, and a gold ring which had associations 
connected with her youth. 

At first everything had gone well. By one of the most 
daring and masterly manoeuvres that Eamiro had ever seen 
in his long and varied experience upon the seas, the little 
Swallow, with her crew of three men, had run the gauntlet 
of the fort which was warned and waiting for her ; had 
sunk and sailed through the big Government boat and her 
crew of lubberly soldiers, many of whom, he was glad to 
reflect, were drowned ; had crushed the officer, against 
whom he had a personal grudge, like an egg-shell, and won 
through to the open sea. There he thought he was sure 
of her, for he took it for granted that she would run for 
the Norfolk coast, and knew that in the gale of wind which 



RAMIRO 289 

was blowing his larger and well-manned vessel could pull 
her down. But then the ill-luck that ancient ill-luck 
which always dogged him when he began to interfere with 
the affairs of Lysbeth and her relatives declared itself. 

Instead of attempting to cross the North Sea the little 
Sivallow hugged the coast, where, for various nautical 
reasons connected with the wind, the water, and the build 
of their respective ships, she had the legs of him. Next he 
lost her in the gut, and after that we know what happened. 
There was no disguising it ; it was a most dreadful fiasco. 
To have one's vessel boarded, the expensive vessel in which 
so large a proportion of the gains of his honourable com- 
pany had been invested, not only boarded, but fired, and the 
watchman stabbed by a single naked devil of unknown sex 
or character was bad enough. And then the end of it! 

To have found the gold-laden ship, to have been gulled 
into attacking her, and and oh! he could scarcely bear 
to think of it! There was but one consolation. Although 
too late to save the others, even through the mist he had 
seen that wisp of smoke rising from the hold ; yes, he, 
the experienced, had smelt a rat, and, warned by some 
half-divine intuition, had kept his distance with the result 
that he was still alive. 

But the others ! Those gallant comrades in adventure, 
where were they ? Well, to be frank, he did not greatly 
care. There was another question of more moment. 
Where was the treasure ? Now that his brain had cleared 
after the shock and turmoil it was evident to him that Foy 
van Goorl, Ked Martin, and the white devil who had 
boarded his ship, would not have destroyed so much wealth 
if they could help it, and still less would they have destroyed 
themselves. Therefore, to pursue the matter to a logical 
conclusion, it seemed probable that they had spent the 
night in sinking or burying the money, and preparing the 
pretty trap into which he had walked, So the secret was 



340 L7SBETH 

in their hands, and as they were still alive very possibly 
means could be found to induce them to reveal its hiding- 
place. There was still hope ; indeed, now that he canie to 
weigh things, they were not so bad. 

To begin with, almost all the shareholders in the affair 
had perished by the stern decree of Providence, and he was 
the natural heir of their interests. In other words, the 
treasure, if it could be recovered, was henceforth his prop- 
erty. Further, when they came to hear the story, the 
Government would set down Brant's fortune as hopelessly 
lost, so that the galling competition from which he had 
suffered so much was at an end. 

Under these circumstances what was to be done ? Very 
soon, as he sailed away over the lake in the sweet air of the 
morning, the Sefior Ra,miro found an answer to the ques- 
tion. 

The treasure had left The Hague, he must leave The 
Hague. The secret of its disposal was at Leyden, hence- 
forth he must live at Leyden. Why not ? He knew Ley- 
den well. It was a pleasant place, but, of course, he might 
be recognised there ; though, after so long, this was 
scarcely probable, for was not the Count de Montalvo 
notoriously dead and buried? Time and accident had 
changed him ; moreover, he could bring art to the assist- 
ance of nature. In Leyden, too, he had confederates 
Black Meg to wit, for one ; also he had funds, for was 
he not the treasurer of the company that this very morn- 
ing had achieved so remarkable and unsought-for an as- 
cension ? 

There was only one thing against the scheme. In Leyden 
lived Lysbeth van Goorl and her husband, and with them 
a certain young man whose parentage he could guess. 
More, her son Foy knew the hiding-place of Brant's hoard, 
and from him or his servant Martin that secret must be 
won. So once again he was destined to match himself 



SEfiOR RAMIRO 341 

against Lysbetli the wronged, the dreaded, the victorious 
Lysbeth, whose voice of denunciation still rang in his ear, 
whose eyes of fire still scorched his soul, the woman whom 
he feared above everything on earth. He fought her once 
for money, and, although he won the money, it had done 
him little good, for in the end she worsted him. Now, if 
he went to Leyden, he must fight her again for money, and 
what would be the issue of that war ? Was it worth while 
to take the risk ? Would not history repeat itself ? If he 
hurt her, would she not crush him ? But the treasure, 
that mighty treasure, which could give him so much, and, 
above all, could restore to him the rank and station he had 
forfeited, and which he coveted more than anything in 
life. For, low as he had fallen, Montalvo could not forget 
that he had been born a gentleman. 

He would take his chance ; he would go to Leyden. 
Had he weighed the matter in the gloom of night, or even 
in a dull and stormy hour, perhaps nay probably he 
would have decided otherwise. But this morning the sun 
shone brightly, the wind made a merry music in the reeds ; 
on the rippling surface of the lake the marsh-birds sang, 
and from the shore came a cheerful lowing of kine. In 
such surroundings his fears and superstitions vanished. He 
was master of himself, and he knew that all depended 
upon himself, the rest was dream and nonsense. Behind 
him lay the buried gold ; before him rose the towers of 
Leyden, where he could find its key. A God ! that haunt- 
ing legend of a God of vengeance, in which priests and 
others affected to believe ? Now that he came to think of 
it, what rubbish was here, for as any agent of the Inquisi- 
tion knew well, the vengeance always fell upon those who 
trusted in this same God ; a hundred torture dens, a thou- 
sand smoking fires bore witness to the fact. And if there 
was a God, why, recognising his personal merits, only this 
morning He had selected him out of many to live on and 
16 



242 LYSBETH 

be the inheritor of the wealth of Hendrik Brant. Yes, he 
would go to Leyden and fight the battle out. 

At the entry of the gut the Seflor Ramiro landed from 
his boat. At first he had thought of killing his compan- 
ion, so that he might remain the sole survivor of the catas- 
trophe, but on reflection he abandoned this idea, as the man 
was a faithful creature of his own who might be useful. 
So he bade him return to The Hague to tell the story of the 
destruction of the ship Swallow with the treasure, her at- 
tackers and her crew, whoever they might have been. He 
was to add, moreover, that so far as he knew the Captain 
Ramiro had perished also, as he, the steersman, was left 
alone in charge of the boat when the vessel blew up. Then 
he was to come to Leyden, bringing with him certain goods 
and papers belonging to him, Ramiro. 

This plan seemed to have advantages. No one would 
continue to hunt for the treasure. No one except himself 
and perhaps Black Meg would know that Foy van Goorl 
and Martin had been on board the Swallow and escaped ; 
indeed as yet he was not quite sure of it himself. For the 
rest he could either lie hidden, or if it proved desirable, 
announce that he still lived. Even if his messenger should 
prove faithless and tell the truth, it would not greatly 
matter, seeing that he knew nothing which could be of 
service to anybody. 

And so the steersman sailed away, while Ramiro, filled 
with memories, reflections, and hopes, walked quietly 
through the Morsch Poort into the good city of Leyden. 

That evening, but not until dark had fallen, two other 
travellers entered Leyden, namely, Foy and Martin. Pass- 
ing unobserved through the quiet streets, they reached the 
side door of the house in the Bree Straat. It was opened 
by a serving-woman, who told Foy that his mother was in 



SEffOR RAMIRO 243 

Adrian's room, also that Adrian was very much better. So 
thither, followed more slowly by Martin, went Toy, run- 
ning upstairs three steps at a time, for had he not a great 
story to tell ! 

The interior of the room as he entered it made an at- 
tractive picture which even in his hurry caught Toy's eye 
and fixed itself so firmly upon his mind that he never forgot 
its details. To begin with, the place was beautifully fur- 
nished, for his brother had a really good taste in tapestry, 
pictures, and other such adornments. Adrian himself lay 
upon a richly carved oak bed, pale from loss of blood, but 
otherwise little the worse. Seated by the side of the bed, 
looking wonderfully sweet in the lamplight, which cast 
shadows from the curling hair about her brows on to the 
delicate face beneath, was Elsa Brant. She had been read- 
ing to Adrian from a book of Spanish chivalry such as his 
romantic soul loved, and he, resting on his elbow in the 
snowy bed, was contemplating her beauty with his languish- 
ing black eyes. Yet, although he only saw her for a mo- 
ment before she heard his entry and looked up, it was 
obvious to Foy that Elsa remained quite unconscious of 
the handsome Adrian's admiration, indeed, that her mind 
wandered far away from the magnificent adventures and 
highly coloured love scenes of which she was reading in her 
sweet, low voice. Nor was he mistaken, for, in fact, the 
poor child was thinking of her father. 

At the further end of the room, talking together earnestly 
in the deep and curtained window-place, stood his mother and 
his father. Clearly they were as much preoccupied as the 
younger couple, and it was not difficult for Foy to guess that 
fears for his own safety upon his perilous errand were what 
concerned them most, and behind them other unnumbered 
fears. For the dwellers in the Netherlands of those days 
must walk from year to year through a valley of shadows so 
grim that our imagination can scarcely picture them, 



244 LYSBETH 

" Sixty hours and he is not back," Lysbeth was saying. 

" Martin said we were not to trouble ourselves before they 
had been gone for a hundred," answered Dirk consolingly. 

Just then Foy, surveying them from the shadowed door- 
way, stepped forward, saying in his jovial voice : 

" Sixty hours to the very minute." 

Lysbeth uttered a little scream of joy and ran forward. 
Elsa let the book fall on to the floor and rose to do the same, 
then remembered and stood still, while Dirk remained 
where he was till the women had done their greetings, be- 
traying his delight only by a quick rubbing of his hands. 
Adrian alone did not look particularly pleased, not, how- 
ever, because he retained any special grudge against his 
brother for his share in the fracas of a few nights before, 
since, when once his furious gusts of temper had passed, he 
was no malevolently minded man. Indeed he was glad 
that Foy had come back safe from his dangerous adventure, 
only he wished that he would not blunder into the bed- 
room and interrupt his delightful occupation of listening, 
while the beautiful Elsa read him romance and poetry. 

Since Foy was gone upon his mission, Adrian had been 
treated with the consideration which he felt to be his due. 
Even his stepfather had taken an opportunity to mumble 
some words of regret for what had happened, and to express 
a hope that nothing more would be said about the matter, 
while his mother was sympathetic and Elsa most charming 
and attentive. Now, as he knew well, all this would be 
changed. Foy, the exuberant, unrefined, plain-spoken, 
nerve-shaking Foy, would become the centre of attraction, 
and overwhelm them with long stories of very dull ex- 
ploits, while Martin, that brutal bull of a man who was only 
fit to draw a cart, would stand behind and play the part of 
chorus, saying " Ja" and "Neen" at proper intervals. 
Well, he supposed that he must put up with it, but oh ! 
what a weariness it was. 




' SIXTY HOURS TO THE VEEY MINUTE." 



SEftOR RAMIRO 245 

Another minute, and Foy was wringing him by the hand, 
saying in his loud voice, " How are you, old fellow ? You 
look as well as possible, what are you lying in this bed 
for and being fed with pap by the women ? " 

"For the love of Heaven, Foy," interrupted Adrian, 
"stop crushing my fingers and shaking me as though I 
were a rat. You mean it kindly, I know, but " and 
Adrian dropped back upon the pillow, coughed and looked 
hectic and interesting. 

Then both the women fell upon Foy, upbraiding him for 
his roughness, begging him to remember that if he were 
not careful he might kill his brother, Avhose arteries were 
understood to be in a most precarious condition, till the 
poor man covered his ears with his hands and waited till 
he saw their lips stop moving. 

"I apologise," he said. "I won't touch him, I won't 
speak loud near him. Adrian, do you hear ? " 

" Who could help it ? " moaned the prostrate Adrian. 

" Cousin Foy," interrupted Elsa, clasping her hands 
and looking up into his face with her big brown eyes, " for- 
give me, but I can wait no longer. Tell me, did you see or 
hear anything of my father yonder at The Hague? " 

"Yes, cousin, I saw him," answered Foy soberly. 

" And how was he oh! and all the rest of them ? " 

"He was well." 

" And free and in no danger?," 

" And free, but I cannot say in no danger. We are all 
of us in danger nowadays, cousin," replied Foy in the same 
quiet voice. 

" Oh ! thank God for that," said Elsa. 

"Little enough to thank God for," muttered Martin, 
who had entered the room and was standing behind Foy 
looking like a giant at a show. Elsa had turned her face 
away, so Foy struck backwards with all his force, hitting 
Martin in the pit of the stomach with the point of his 



246 LYSBETH 

elbow. Martin doubled himself up, recoiled a step and 
took the hint. 

"Well, son, what news?" said Dirk, speaking for the 
first time. 

"News!" answered Foy, escaping joyfully from this 
treacherous ground. "Oh! lots of it. Look here," and 
plunging his hands into his pockets he produced first the 
half of the broken dagger and secondly a long skinny finger 
of unwholesome hue with a gold ring on it. 

" Bah! " said Adrian. " Take that horrid thing away." 

"Oh! I beg your pardon," answered Foy, shuffling the 
finger back into his pocket, " you don't mind the dagger, 
do you ? No ? Well, then, mother, that mail shirt of yours 
is the best that was ever made ; this knife broke on it like 
a carrot, though, by the way, it's uncommonly sticky wear 
when you haven't changed it for three days, and I shall be 
glad enough to get it off." 

" Evidently Foy has a story to tell," said Adrian wearily, 
"and the sooner he rids his mind of it the sooner he will 
be able to wash. I suggest, Foy, that you should begin 
at the beginning." 

So Foy began at the beginning, and his tale proved suffi- 
ciently moving to interest, even the soul-worn Adrian. 
Some portions of it he softened down, and some of it he 
suppressed for the sake of Elsa not very successfully, in- 
deed, for Foy was no diplomatist, and her quick imagina- 
tion filled the gaps. Another part that which concerned 
her future and his own of necessity he omitted altogether. 
He told them very briefly, however, of the flight from The 
Hague, of the sinking of the Government boat, of the run 
through the gale to the Haarlem Mere with the dead pilot 
on board and the Spanish ship behind, and of the secret 
midnight burying of the treasure. 

" Where did you bury it ? " asked Adrian. 

" I have not the slightest idea," said Foy. " I believe 



SEftOR RAMIRO 247 

there are about three hundred islets in that part of the 
Mere, and all I know is that we dug a hole in one of them 
and stuck it in. However," he went on in a burst of con- 
fidence, "we made a map of the place, that is " Here 
he broke off with a howl of pain, for an accident had hap- 
pened. 

While this narrative was proceeding, Martin, who was 
standing by him saying " Ja " and "Neen" at intervals, 
as Adrian foresaw he would, had unbuckled the great sword 
Silence, and in an abstracted manner was amusing himself 
by throwing it towards the ceiling hilt downwards, and as 
it fell catching it in his hand. Now, most unaccountably, 
he looked the other way and missed his catch, with the 
result that the handle of the heavy weapon fell exactly 
upon Toy's left foot and then clattered to the ground. 

" You awkward beast! " roared Foy, "you have crushed 
my toes," and he hopped towards a chair upon one leg. 

" Your pardon, master," said Martin. " I know it was 
careless ; my mother always told me that I was careless, 
but so was my father before me." 

Adrian, overcome by the fearful crash, closed his eyes 
and sighed. 

"Look," said Lysbeth in a fury, "he is fainting; I 
knew that would be the end of all your noise. If you are 
not careful we shall have him breaking another vessel. Go 
out of the room, all of you. You can finish telling the 
story downstairs," and she drove them before her as a 
farmer's wife drives fowls. 

" Martin," said Foy on the stairs, where they found 
themselves together for a minute, for at the first signs of 
the storm Dirk had preceded them, " why did you drop 
that accursed great sword of yours upon my foot ? " 

"Master," countered Martin imperturbably, "why did 
you hit me in the pit of the stomach with your elbow? " 

" To keep your tongue quiet." 



218 LYSBETH 

" And what is the name of my sword ? " 

"Silence." 

" Well, then, I dropped the sword ' Silence ' for the same 
reason. I hope it hasn't hurt you much, but if it did I 
can't help it." 

Foy wheeled round. " What do you mean, Martin ? " 

"I mean," answered the great man with energy, "that 
you have no right to tell what became of that paper which 
Mother Martha gave us." 

" Why not ? I have faith in my brother." 

" Very likely, master, but that isn't the point. We carry 
a great secret, and this secret is a trust, a dangerous trust ; 
it would be wrong to lay its burden upon the shoulders of 
other folk. What people don't know they can't tell, 
master." 

Foy still stared at him, half in question, half in anger, 
but Martin made no further reply in words. Only he went 
through certain curious motions, motions as of a man wind- 
ing slowly and laboriously at something like a pump wheel. 
Foy's lips turned pale. 

"The rack?" he whispered. Martin nodded, and an- 
swered beneath his breath, 

" They may all of them be on it yet. You let the man 
in the boat escape, and that man was the Spanish spy, 
Eamiro ; I am sure of it. If they don't know they can't 
tell, and though we know we shan't tell ; we shall die first, 
master." 

Now Foy trembled and leaned against the wall. " What 
would betray us ? " he asked. 

" Who knows, master ? A woman's torment, a man's " 
and he put a strange meaning into his voice, " a man's 
jealousy, or pride, or vengeance. Oh ! bridle your tongue 
and trust no one, no, not your father or mother, or sweet- 
heart, or " and again that strange meaning came into 
Martin's voice, " or brother," 



SEfiOR RAMIRO 249 

"Or you ? " queried Foy looking up. 

" I am uot sure. .Yes, I think you may trust me, though 
there is no knowing how the rack might change a man's 
mind." 

"If all this he so," said Foy, with a flash of sudden 
passion, " I have said too much already." 

"A great deal too much, master. If I could have man- 
aged it I should have dropped the sword Silence on your 
toe long before. But I couldn't, for the Heer Adrian was 
watching me, and I had to wait till he closed his eyes, 
which he did to hear the better without seeming to listen." 

" You are unjust to Adrian, Martin, as you always have 
been, and I am angry with you. Say, what is to be done 
now ? " 

"Now, master," replied Martin cheerfully, "you must 
forget the teaching of the Pastor Arentz, and tell a lie. 
You must take up your tale where you left it off, and say 
that we made a map of the hiding-place, but that I being 
a fool managed to drop it while we were lighting the fuses, 
so that it was blown away with the ship. I will tell the 
same story." 

" Am I to say this to my father and mother ? " 

" Certainly, and they will quite understand why you say 
it. My mistress was getting uneasy already, and that was 
why she drove us from the room. You will tell them that 
the treasure is buried but that the secret of its hiding-place 
was lost." 

" Even so, Martin, it is not lost; Mother Martha knows 
it, and they all will guess that she does know it." 

" Why, master, as it happened you were in such a hurry 
to get on with your story that I think you forgot to men- 
tion that she was present at the burying of the barrels. 
Her name was coming when I dropped the sword upon 
your foot." 

" But she boarded and fired the Spanish ship so the 



250 LYSBETH 

man Ramiro and his companion would probably have seen 
her." 

" I doubt, master, that the only person who saw her was 
he whose gizzard she split, and he will tell no tales. Prob- 
ably they think it was you or I who did that deed. But if 
she was seen, or if they know that she has the secret, then 
let them get it from Mother Martha. Oh ! mares can gal- 
lop and ducks can dive and snakes can hide in the grass. 
When they can catch the wind and make it give up its 
secrets, when they can charm from sword Silence the tale of 
the blood which it has drunk throughout the generations, 
when they can call back the dead saints from heaven and 
stretch them anew within the torture-pit, then and not 
before, they will win knowledge of the hoard's hiding-place 
from the lips of the witch of Haarlem Mere. Oh ! master, 
fear not for her, the grave is not so safe." 

" Why did you not caution me before, Martin ? " 
" Because, master," answered Martin stolidly, " I did not 
think that you would be such a fool. But I forgot that you 
are young yes, I forgot that you are young and good, 
too good for the days we live in. It is my fault. On my 
head be it." 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE MASTER 

IN the sitting-room, speaking more slowly and with 
greater caution, Foy continued the story of their adven- 
tures. When he came to the tale of how the ship Swallow 
Avas blown up with all the Spanish boarders, Elsa clasped 
her hands, saying, "Horrible! Horrible! Think of the 
poor creatures hurled thus into eternity." 

"And think of the business they were on," broke in 
Dirk grimly, adding, " May God forgive me who cannot 
feel grieved to hear of the death of Spanish cut-throats. 
It was well managed, Foy, excellently well managed. But 
go on." 

"I think that is about all," said Foy shortly, "except 
that two of the Spaniards got away in a boat, one of whom 
is believed to be the head spy and captain, Ramiro." 

"But, son, up in Adrian's chamber just now you said 
something about having made a map of the hiding-place of 
the gold. Where is it, for it should be put in safety ? " 

" Yes, I know I did," answered Foy, " but didn't I tell 
you ? " he went on awkwardly. " Martin managed to drop 
the thing in the cabin of the Swallow while we were light- 
ing the fuses, so it was blown up with the ship, and there 
is now no record of where the stuff was buried." 

" Come, come, son," said Dirk. " Martha, who knows 
every island on the great lake, must remember the spot." 

"Oh! no, she doesn't," answered Foy. "The truth is 
that she didn't come with us when we buried the barrels. 
She stopped to watch the Spanish ship, and just told ua to 



253 LYSBETH 

land on the first island we came to and dig a hole, which 
Ave did, making a map of the place before we left, the same 
that Martin dropped." 

All this clumsy falsehood Foy uttered with a wooden face 
and in a voice which would not have convinced a three- 
year-old infant, priding himself the while upon his extraor- 
dinary cleverness. 

" Martin," asked Dirk, suspiciously, " is this true? " 

"Absolutely true, master," replied Martin; "it is won- 
derful how well he remembers." 

" Son," said Dirk, turning white with suppressed auger, 
" you have always been a good lad, and now you have shown 
yourself a brave one, but I pray God that I may not be 
forced to add that you are false-tongued. Do you not see 
that this looks black ? The treasure which you have hid- 
den is the greatest in all the Netherlands. Will not folk 
say, it is not wonderful that you should have forgotten its 
secret until it suits you to remember ? " 

Foy took a step forward, his face crimson with indigna- 
tion, but the heavy hand of Martin fell upon his shoulder 
and dragged him back as though he were but a little child. 

" I think, Master Foy," he said, fixing his eyes upon 
Lysbeth, " that your lady mother wishes to say something." 

" You are right, Martin; I do. Do you not think, hus- 
band, that in these days of ours a man might have other 
reasons for hiding the truth than a desire to enrich himself 
by theft?" 

" What do you mean, wife? " asked Dirk. " Foy here 
says that he has buried this great hoard with Martin, but 
that he and Martin do not know where they buried it, and 
have lost the map they made. Whatever may be the exact 
wording of the will, that hoard belongs to my cousin here, 
subject to certain trusts which have not yet arisen, and 
may never arise, and I am her guardian while Hendrik 
Brant lives and his executor when he dies. Therefore, 



THE MASTER 253 

legally, it belongs to me also. By what right, then, do 
my sou and my servant hide the truth from me, if, indeed, 
they are hiding the truth? Say what you have to say 
straight out, for I am a plain man and cannot read 
riddles." 

" Then I will say it, husband, though it is but my guess, 
for I have had no words with Foy or Martin, and if I am 
wrong they can correct me. I know their faces, and I 
think with you that they are not speaking the truth. I 
think that they do not wish us to know it not that they 
may keep the secret of this treasure for themselves, but 
because such a secret might well bring those who know of 
it to the torment and the stake. Is it not so, my son ? " 

"Mother," answered Foy, almost in a whisper, "it is 
so. The paper is not lost, but do not seek to learn its 
hiding-place, for there are wolves who would tear your 
bodies limb from limb to get the knowledge out of you; 
yes, even Elsa's, even Elsa's. If the trial must come, let 
it fall on me and Martin, who are fitter to bear it. Oh! 
father, surely you know that, whatever AVC may be, neither 
of us are thieves." 

Dirk advanced to his son, and kissed him on the fore- 
head. 

"My son," he said, "pardon me, and you, Red Martin, 
pardon me also. I spoke in my haste. I spoke as a fool, 
who, at my age, should have known better. But, oh! I 
tell you that I wish that this cursed treasure, these cases of 
priceless gems and these kegs of hoarded gold, had been 
shivered to the winds of heaven with the timbers of the 
ship Swallow. For, mark you, Eamiro has escaped, and 
with him another man, and they will know well that hav- 
ing the night to hide it, you did not destroy those jewels 
with the ship. They will track you down, these Spanish 
sleuthhounds, filled with the lust of blood and gold, and it. 
will be well if the lives of every one of us do not pay the 



264 LYSBETR 

price of the secret of the burying-place of the wealth of 
Hendrik Brant."' 

He ceased, pale and trembling, and a silence fell upon 
the room and all in it, a sad and heavy silence, for in his 
voice they caught the note of prophecy. Martin broke it. 

" It may be so, master," he said ; " but, your pardon, you 
should have thought of that before you undertook this 
duty. There was no call upon you to send the Heer Foy 
and myself to The Hague to bring away this trash, but you 
did it as would any other honest man. Well, now it is 
done and we must take our chance, but I say this if you 
are wise, my masters, yes, and you ladies also, before you 
leave this room you will swear upon the Bible, every one of 
you, never to whisper the word treasure, never to think of 
it except to believe that it is gone lost beneath the 
waters of the Haarlemer Meer. Never to whisper it, no, 
mistress, not even to the Heer Adrian, your son who lies 
sick abed upstairs." 

" You have learnt wisdom somewhere of late years, Mar- 
tin, since you stopped drinking and fighting," said Dirk 
drily, " and for my part before God I swear it." 

"And so do I." "And I." "And I." "And I," 
echoed the others, Martin, who spoke last, adding, "Yes, 
I swear that I will never speak of it; no, not even to my 
young master Adrian, who lies sick abed upstairs." 

Adrian made a good, though not a very quick recovery. 
He had lost a great deal of blood, but the vessel closed 
without further complications, so that it remained only 
to renew his strength by rest and ample food. For ten 
days or so after the return of Foy and Martin, he was 
kept in bed and nursed by the women of the house. Elsa's 
share in this treatment was to read to him from the Span- 
ish romances which he admired. Very soon, however, he 
found that he admired Elsa herself even more than the 



THE MASTER 255 

romances, and would ask her to shut the book that he 
might talk to her. So long as his conversation was about 
himself, his dreams, plans and ambitions, she fell into it 
readily enough; but when he began to turn it upon herself, 
and to lard it with compliment and amorous innuendo, then 
she demurred, and fled to the romances for refuge. 

Handsome as he might be, Adrian had no attractions for 
Elsa. About him there was something too exaggerated for 
her taste; moreover he was Spanish, Spanish in his beauty, 
Spanish in the cast of his mind, and all Spaniards were 
hateful to her. Deep down in her heart also lay a second 
reason for this repugnance; the man reminded her of 
another man who for months had been a nightmare to her 
soul, the Hague spy, Eamiro. This Ramiro she had ob- 
served closely. Though she had not seen him very often 
his terrible reputation was familiar to her. She knew 
also, for her father had told her as much, that it was he 
who was drawing the nets about him at The Hague, and 
who plotted day and night to rob him of his wealth. 

At first sight there was no great resemblance between the 
pair. How could there be indeed between a man on the 
wrong side of middle age, one-eyed, grizzled, battered, and 
bearing about with him an atmosphere of iniquity, and a 
young gentleman, handsome, distinguished, and wayward, 
but assuredly no criminal ? Yet the likeness existed. She 
had seen it first when Adrian was pointing out to her how, 
were he a general, he would dispose his forces for the cap- 
ture of Leyden, and from that moment her nature rose in 
arms against him. Also it came out in other ways, in little 
tricks of voice and pomposities of manner which Elsa caught 
at unexpected moments, perhaps, as she told herself, be- 
cause she had trained her mind to seek these similarities. 
Yet all the while she knew that the fancy was ridiculous, 
for what could these two men have in common with each 
other ? 



256 LYSBETH 

Iii those days, however, Elsa did not think much of 
Adrian, or of anybody except her beloved father, whose 
only child she was, and whom she adored with all the 
passion of her heart. She knew the terrible danger in 
which he stood, and guessed that she had been sent 
away that she should not share his perils. Now she 
had but one desire and one prayer that he might es- 
cape in safety, and that she might return to him again. 
Once only a message came from him, sent through a 
woman whom she had never seen, the wife of a fisher- 
man, who delivered it by word of mouth. This was the 
message : 

" Give my love and blessing to my daughter Elsa, and 
tell her that so far I am unharmed. To Foy van Goorl 
say, I have heard the news. Well done, thou good and 
faithful servant! Let him remember what I told him, and 
be sure that he will not strive in vain, and that he shall not 
lack for his reward here or hereafter." 

That was all. Tidings reached them also that the de- 
struction of so many men by the blowing up of the Swal- 
low, and by her sinking of the Government boat as she 
escaped, had caused much excitement and fury among the 
Spaniards. But, as those who had been blown up were 
free-lances, and as the boat was sunk while the Swallow 
was flying from them, nothing had been done in the 
matter. Indeed, nothing could be done, for it was not 
known who manned the Swallow, and, as Ramiro had fore- 
seen, her crew were supposed to have been destroyed with 
her in the Haarlemer Meer. 

Then, after a while, came other news that filled Elsa's 
heart with a wild hope, for it was reported that Hendrik 
Brant had disappeared, and was believed to have escaped 
from The Hague. Nothing more was heard of him, how- 
ever, which is scarcely strange, for the doomed man had 
gone down the path of rich heretics into the silent vaults 



THE MASTER 257 

of the Inquisition, The net had closed at last, and through 
the net fell the sword. 

But if Elsa thought seldom of Adrian, except in gusts 
of spasmodic dislike, Adrian thought of Elsa, and little 
besides. So earnestly did he lash his romantic tempera- 
ment, and so deeply did her beauty and charm appeal to 
him, that very soon he was truly in love with her. Nor 
did the fact that, as he believed, she was, potentially, the 
greatest heiress in the Netherlands, cool Adrian's amorous 
devotion. What could suit him better in his condition, 
than to marry this rich and lovely lady ? 

So Adrian made up his mind that he would marry her, 
for, in his vanity, it never occurred to him that she might 
object. Indeed, the only thought that gave him trouble 
was the difficulty of reducing her wealth into possession. 
Foy and Martin had buried it somewhere in the Haarlemer 
Meer. But they said, for this he had ascertained by re- 
peated inquiries, although the information was given grudg- 
ingly enough, that the map of the hiding-place had been 
destroyed in the explosion on the Swallow. Adrian did not 
believe this story for a moment. He was convinced that 
they were keeping the truth from him, and as the prospec- 
tive master of that treasure he resented this reticence bit- 
terly. Still, it had to be overcome, and so soon as he was 
engaged to Elsa he intended to speak very clearly upon this 
point. Meanwhile, the first thing was to find a suitable 
opportunity to make his declaration in due form, which 
done he would be prepared to deal with Foy and Martin. 

Towards evening it was Elsa's custom to walk abroad. 
As at that hour Foy left the foundry, naturally he accom- 
panied her in these walks, Martin following at a little dis- 
tance in case he should be wanted. Soon those excursions 
became delightful to both of them. To Elsa, especially, it 
was pleasant to escape from the hot house into the cool 
evening air, and still more pleasant to exchange the laboured 
17 



258 LYSBETH 

tendernesses and highly coloured compliments of Adrian 
for the cheerful honesty of Foy's conversation. 

Foy admired his cousin as much as did his half-brother, 
but his attitude towards her was very different. He never 
said sweet things; he never gazed up into her eyes and 
sighed, although once or twice, perhaps by accident, he 
did squeeze her hand. His demeanour towards her was 
that of a friend and relative, and the subject of their talk 
for the most part was the possibility of her father's deliver- 
ance from the dangers which surrounded him, and other 
matters of the sort. 

The time came at last when Adrian was allowed to leave 
his room, and as it chanced it fell to Elsa's lot to attend 
him on this first journey downstairs. In a Dutch home of 
the period and of the class of the Van Goorl's, all the 
women-folk of whatever degree were expected to take a 
share in the household work. At present Elsa's share was 
to do nurse to Adrian, who showed so much temper at 
every attempt which was made to replace her by any other 
woman, that, in face of the doctor's instructions, Lysbeth 
did not dare to cross his whim. 

It was with no small delight, therefore, that Elsa hailed 
the prospect of release, for the young man with his gran- 
diose bearing and amorous sighs wearied her almost beyond 
endurance. Adrian was not equally pleased ; indeed he had 
feigned symptoms which caused him to remain in bed an 
extra week, merely in order that he might keep her near 
him. But now the inevitable hour had come, and Adrian 
felt that it was incumbent upon him to lift the veil and let 
Elsa see some of the secret of his soul. He had prepared 
for the event; indeed the tedium of his confinement had 
been much relieved by the composition of lofty and heart- 
stirring addresses, in which he, the noble cavalier, laid his 
precious self and fortune at the feet of this undistinguished, 
but rich and attractive maid. 



THE MASTER 869 

Yet now when the moment was with him, and when Elsa 
gave him her hand to lead him from the room, behold ! all 
these beautiful imaginings had vanished, and his knees 
shook with no fancied weakness. Somehow Elsa did not 
look as a girl ought to look who was about to be proposed 
to; she was too cold and dignified, too utterly unconscious 
of anything unusual. It was disconcerting but it must 
be done. 

By a superb effort Adrian recovered himself and opened 
with one of the fine speeches, not the best by any means, 
but the only specimen which he could remember. 

" Without," he began, " the free air waits to be pressed 
by my cramped wings, but although my heart bounds wild 
as that of any haggard hawk, I tell you, fairest Elsa, that 
in yonder gilded cage," and he pointed to the bed, " I " 

"Heaven above us! Heer Adrian," broke in Elsa in 
alarm, " are you are you getting giddy ? " 

" She does not understand. Poor child, how should 
she ? " he murmured in a stage aside. Then he started 
again. " Yes, most adorable, best beloved, I am giddy, 
giddy with gratitude to those fair hands, giddy with wor- 
ship of those lovely eyes " 

Now Elsa, unable to contain her merriment any longer, 
burst out laughing, but seeing that her adorer's face was 
beginning to look as it did in the dining-room before he 
broke the blood vessel, she checked herself, and said : 

" Oh! Heer Adrian, don't waste all this fine poetry upon 
me. I am too stupid to understand it." 

"Poetry!" he exclaimed, becoming suddenly natural, 
"it isn't poetry." 

" Then what is it? " she asked, and next moment could 
have bitten her tongue out. 

" It is it is love! " and he sank upon his knees before 
her, where, she could not but notice, he looked very 
handsome in the subdued light of the room, with his 



280 LYSBETH 

upturned face blanched by sickness, and his southern glow- 
ing eyes. " Elsa, I love you and no other, and unless you 
return that love my heart will break and I shall die." 

Now, under ordinary circumstances, EJsa would have 
been quite competent to deal with the situation, but the 
fear of over-agitating Adrian complicated it greatly. About 
the reality of his feelings at the moment, at any rate, it 
seemed impossible to be mistaken, for the man was shak- 
ing like a leaf. Still, she must make an end of these 
advances. 

"Rise, Heer Adrian," she said gently, holding out her 
hand to help him to his feet. 

He obeyed, and glancing at her face, saw that it was very 
calm and cold as winter ice. 

"Listen, Heer Adrian," she said. "You mean this 
kindly, and doubtless many a maid would be flattered by 
your words, but I must tell you that I am in no mood for 
love-making." 

" Because of another man?" he queried, and suddenly 
becoming theatrical again, added, " Speak on, let me hear 
the worst; I will not quail." 

"There is no need to," replied Elsa in the same quiet 
voice, "because there is no other man. I have never yet 
thought of marriage, I have no wish that way, and if I had, 
I should forget it now when from hour to hour I do not 
know where my dear father may be, or what fate awaits 
him. He is my only lover, Heer Adrian," and as Elsa 
spoke her soft brown eyes filled with tears. 

"Ah!" said Adrian, "would that I might fly to save 
him from all dangers, as I rescued you, lady, from the 
bandits of the wood." 

"I would you might," she replied, smiling sadly at the 
double meaning of the words, "but, hark, your mother is 
calling us. I know, Heer Adrian," she added gently, 
" that you will understand and respect my dreadful anx- 



THE MASTER 381 

iety, and will not trouble me again with poetry and love- 
talk, for if you do I shall be angry." 

"Lady," he answered, "your wishes are my law, and 
until these clouds have rolled from the blue heaven of 
your life I will be as silent as the watching moon. And, 
by the way," he added rather nervously, " perhaps you will 
be silent also about our talk, I mean, as we do not want 
that buffoon, Foy, thrusting his street-boy fun at us." 

Elsa bowed her head. She was inclined to resent the 
" we " and other things in this speech, but, above all, she 
did not wish to prolong this foolish and tiresome interview, 
so, without more words, she took her admirer by the hand 
and guided him down the stairs. 

It was but three days after this ridiculous scene, on a cer- 
tain afternoon, when Adrian had been out for the second 
time, that the evil tidings came. Dirk had heard them in 
the town, and returned home well-nigh weeping. Elsa 
saw his face and knew at once. 

" Oh! is he dead ? " she gasped. 

He nodded, for he dared not trust himself to speak. 

"How? Where?" 

" In the Poort prison at The Hague." 

" How do you know ? " 

" I have seen a man who helped to bury him." 

She looked up as though to ask for further details, but 
Dirk turned away muttering, ' 'He is dead, he is dead, let be. ' ' 

Then she understood, nor did she ever seek to know any 
more. Whatever he had suffered, at least now he was with 
the God he worshipped, and with the wife he lost. Only 
the poor orphan, comforted by Lysbeth, crept from the 
chamber, and for a week was seen no more. "When she 
appeared again she seemed to be herself in all things, only 
she never smiled and was very indifferent to what took 
place about her. Thus she remained for many days. 



22 LYSBETH 

Although this demeanour on Elsa's part was understood 
and received with sympathy and more by the rest of the 
household, Adrian soon began to find it irksome and even 
ridiculous. So colossal was this young man's vanity that 
he was unable quite to understand how a girl could be so 
wrapped up in the memories of a murdered father, that no 
place was left in her miiid for the tendernesses of a present 
adorer. After all, this father, what was he? A middle- 
aged and, doubtless, quite uninteresting burgher, who could 
lay claim to but one distinction, that of great wealth, most 
of which had been amassed by his ancestors. 

Now a rich man alive has points of interest, but a rich 
man dead is only interesting to his heirs. Also, this Brant 
was one of these narrow-minded, fanatical, New Religion 
fellows who were so wearisome to men of intellect and 
refinement. True, he, Adrian, was himself of that com- 
munity, for circumstances had driven him into the herd, 
but oh ! he found them a dreary set. Their bald doctrines 
of individual effort, of personal striving to win a personal 
redemption, did not appeal to him ; moreover, they gener- 
ally ended at the stake. Now about the pomp and circum- 
stance of the Mother Church there was something attrac- 
tive. Of course, as a matter of prudence he attended its 
ceremonials from time to time and found them comfortable 
and satisfying. Comfortable also were the dogmas of for- 
giveness to be obtained by an act of penitential confession, 
and the sense of a great supporting force whose whole 
weight was at the disposal of the humblest believer. 

In short, there was nothing picturesque about the excel- 
lent departed Hendrik, nothing that could justify the 
young woman in wrapping herself up in grief for him to 
the entire exclusion of a person who was picturesque and 
ready, at the first opportunity, to wrap himself up in 
her. 

After long brooding, assisted by a close study of the 



THE MASTER 263 

romances of the period, Adrian convinced himself that in 
all this there was something unnatural, that the girl must 
be under a species of spell which in her own interest ought 
to be broken through. But how? That was the ques- 
tion. Try as he would he could do nothing. Therefore, 
like others in a difficulty, he determined to seek the assist- 
ance of an expert, namely, Black Meg, who, among her 
other occupations, for a certain fee payable in advance, 
was ready to give advice as a specialist in affairs of the 
heart. 

To Black Meg accordingly he went, disguised, secretly 
and by night, for he loved mystery, and in truth it was 
hardly safe that he should visit her by the light of day. 
Seated in a shadowed chamber he poured out his artless 
tale to the pythoness, of course concealing all names. He 
might have spared himself this trouble, as he was an old 
client of Meg's, a fact that no disguise could keep from 
her. Before he opened his lips she knew perfectly what 
was the name of his inamorata and indeed all the circum- 
stances connected with the pair of them. 

The wise woman listened in patience, and when he had 
done, shook her head, saying that the case was too hard 
for her. She proposed, however, to consult a Master more 
learned than herself, who, by great good fortune, was at 
that moment in Ley den, frequenting her house in fact, 
and begged that Adrian would return at the same hour on 
the morrow. 

Now, as it chanced, oddly enough Black Meg had been 
commissioned by the said Master to bring about a meeting 
between himself and this very young man. 

Adrian returned accordingly, and was informed that the 
Master, after consulting the stars and other sources of 
divination, had become so deeply interested in the affair 
that, for pure love of the thing and not for any temporal 
purpose of gain, he was in attendance to advise in person. 



264 LYSBETH 

Adrian was overjoyed, and prayed that he might be intro- 
duced. Presently a noble-looking form entered the room, 
wrapped in a long cloak. Adrian bowed, and the form, 
after contemplating him earnestly very earnestly, if he 
had known the truth acknowledged the salute with dig- 
nity. Adrian cleared his throat and began to speak, 
whereon the sage stopped him. 

"Explanations are needless, young man," he said, in a 
measured and melodious voice, "for my studies of the 
matter have already informed me of more than you can 
tell. Let me see; your name is Adrian van Goorl no, 
called Van Goorl ; the lady you desire to win is Elsa Brant, 
the daughter of Hendrik Brant, a heretic and well-known 
goldsmith, who was recently executed at The Hague. She 
is a girl of much beauty, but one unnaturally insensible to 
the influence of love, and who does not at present recognise 
your worth. There are, also, unless I am mistaken, other 
important circumstances connected with the case. 

" This lady is a great heiress, but her fortune is at pres- 
ent missing; it is, I have reason to believe, hidden in the 
Haarlemer Meer. She is surrounded with influences that 
are inimical to you, all of which, however, can be overcome 
if you will place yourself unreservedly in my hands, for, 
young man, I accept no half -confidences, nor do I ask for 
any fee. When the fortune is recovered and the maiden is 
your happy wife, then we will talk of payment for services 
rendered, and not before." 

" Wonderful, wonderful!" gasped Adrian; " most learned 
sen or, every word you say is true." 

" Yes, friend Adrian, and I have not told you all the 
truth. For instance but, no, this is not the time to 
speak. The question is, do you accept my terms? " 

"What terms, settor?" 

" The old terms, without which no wonder can be worked 
faith, absolute faith." 



THE MASTER 65 

Adrian hesitated a little. Absolute faith seemed a large 
present to give a complete stranger at a first interview. 

"I read your thought and I respect it," went on the 
sage, who, to tell truth, was afraid he had ventured a little 
too far. " There is no hurry; these affairs cannot be con- 
cluded in a day." 

Adrian admitted that they could not, but intimated that 
he would be glad of a little practical and immediate assist- 
ance. The sage buried his face in his hands and thought. 

" The first thing to do," he said presently, " is to induce 
a favourable disposition of the maiden's mind towards your- 
self, and this, I think, can best be brought about though 
the method is one which I do not often use by means of 
a love philtre carefully compounded to suit the circum- 
stances of the case. If you will come here to-morrow at 
dusk, the lady of this house a worthy woman, though 
rough of speech and no true adept will hand it "to you." 

" It isn't poisonous ? " suggested Adrian doubtfully. 

" Fool, do I deal in poisons ? It will poison the girl's 
heart in your favour, that is all." 

" And how is it to be administered ? " asked Adrian. 

"In the water or the wine she drinks, and afterwards 
you must speak to her again as soon as possible. Now that 
is settled," he went on airily, ''so, young friend, good- 
bye." 

" Are you sure that there is no fee ? " hesitated Adrian. 

" No, indeed," answered the sage, " at any rate until all 
is accomplished. Ah!" and he sighed, "did you but 
know what a delight it is to a weary and world-worn trav- 
eller to help forward the bright ambitions of youth, to 
assist the pure and soaring soul to find the mate destined 
to it by heaven ehem ! you wouldn't talk of fees. Be- 
sides, I will be frank ; from the moment that I entered this 
room and saw you, I recognised in you a kindred nature, 
one which under my guidance is capable of great things, of 



366 LYSBETH 

things greater than I care to tell. Ah! what a vision do I 
see. You, the husband of the beautiful Elsa and master 
of her great wealth, and I at your side guiding you with my 
wisdom and experience then what might not be achieved ? 
Dreams, doubtless dreams, though how often have my 
dreams been prophetic! Still, forget them, and at least, 
young man, we will be friends," and he stretched out his 
hand. 

"With all my heart," answered Adrian, taking those 
cool, agile-looking fingers. "For years I have sought 
someone on whom I could rely, someone who would under- 
stand me as I feel you do." 

"Yes, yes," sighed the sage, "I do indeed understand 
you." 

"To think/' he said to himself after the door had 
closed behind the delighted and flattered Adrian, "to 
think that I can be the father of such a fool as that. 
Well, it bears out my theories about cross-breeding, and, 
after all, in this case a good-looking, gullible fool will be 
much more useful to me than a young man of sense. Let 
me see; the price of the office is paid and I shall have my 
appointment duly sealed as the new Governor of the 
Gevangenhuis by next week at furthest, so I may as well 
begin to collect evidence against my worthy successor, Dirk 
van Goorl, his adventurous son Foy, and that red-headed 
ruffian, Martin. Once I have them in the Gevangenhuis 
it will go hard if I can't squeeze the secret of old Brant's 
money out of one of the three of them. The women 
wouldn't know, they wouldn't have told the women, 
besides I don't want to meddle with them, indeed nothing 
would persuade me to that" and he shivered as though 
at some wretched recollection. " But there must be evi- 
dence; there is such a noise about these executions and 
questionings that they won't allow any more of them in 
Leyden without decent evidence; even Alva and the Blood 



THE MASTER 867 

Council are getting a bit frightened. "Well, who can fur- 
nish better testimony than that jackass, my worthy son, 
Adrian? Probably, however, he has a conscience some- 
where, so it may be as well not to let him know that when 
he thinks himself engaged in conversation he is really in 
the witness box. Let me see, we must take the old fellow, 
Dirk, on the ground of heresy, and the youngster and the 
serving man on a charge of murdering the king's soldiers 
and assisting the escape of heretics with their goods. Mur- 
der sounds bad, and, especially in the case of a young man, 
excites less public sympathy than common heresy." 

Then he went to the door, calling, " Meg, hostess mine, 
Meg." 

He might have saved himself the trouble, however, since, 
on opening it suddenly, that lady fell almost into his arms. 

"What! " he said, "listening, oh, fie! and all for noth- 
ing. But there, ladies will be curious and " this to him- 
self "I must be more careful. Lucky I didn't talk 
aloud." 

Then he called her in, and having inspected the chamber 
narrowly, proceeded to make certain arrangements. 



CHAPTER XVII 

BETROTHED 

AT nightfall on the morrow Adrian returned as ap- 
pointed, and was admitted into the same room, where he 
found Black Meg, who greeted him openly by name and 
handed to him a tiny phial containing a fluid clear as 
water. This, however, was scarcely to be wondered at, 
seeing that it was water and nothing else. 

"Will it really work upon her heart?" asked Adrian, 
eyeing the stuff. 

" Ay," answered the hag, " that's a wondrous medicine, 
and those who drink it go crazed with love for the giver. 
It is compounded according to the Master's own receipt, 
from very costly tasteless herbs that grow only in the des- 
erts of Arabia." 

Adrian understood, and fumbled in his pocket. Meg 
stretched out her hand to receive the honorarium. It was 
a long, skinny hand, with long, skinny fingers, but there 
was this peculiarity about it, that one of these fingers 
chanced to be missing. She saw his eyes fixed upon the 
gap, and rushed into an explanation. 

"I have met with an accident," Meg explained. "In 
cutting up a pig the chopper caught this finger and severed 
it." 

" Did you wear a ring on it ? " asked Adrian. 

" Yes," she replied, with sombre fury. 

" How very strange! " ejaculated Adrian. 

"Why?" 

" Because I have seen a finger, a woman's long finger 
with a gold ring on it, that might have come off your hand. 



I suppose the pork-butcher picked it up for a keep- 
sake." 

" May be, Heer Adrian, but where is it now ? " 

"Oh! it is, or was, in a bottle of spirits tied by a thread 
to the cork." 

Meg's evil face contorted itself. " Get me that bottle," 
she said hoarsely. " Look you, Heer Adrian, I am doing 
much for you, do this for me." 

" What do you want it for ? " 

"To give it Christian burial," she replied sourly. "It 
is not fitting or lucky that a person's finger should stand 
about in a bottle like a caul or a lizard. Get it, I say get 
it I ask no question where or, young man, you will have 
little help in your love affairs from me." 

"Do you wish the dagger hilt also?" he asked mis- 
chievously. 

She looked at him out of the corners of her black eyes. 
This Adrian knew too much. 

" I want the finger and the ring on it which I lost in 
chopping up the pig." 

"Perhaps, mother, you would like the pig, too. Are 
you not making a mistake ? Weren't you trying to cut his 
throat, and didn't he bite off the finger ? " 

" If I want the pig, I'll search his stye. You bring that 
bottle, or " 

She did not finish her sentence, for the door opened, and 
through it came the sage. 

" Quarrelling," he said in a tone of reproof. " What 
about? Let me guess," and he passed his hand over his 
shadowed brow. "Ah! I see, there is a finger in it, a 
finger of fate? No, not that," and, moved by a fresh 
inspiration, he grasped Meg's hand, and added, " Now I 
have it. Bring it back, friend Adrian, bring it back; a 
dead finger is most unlucky to all save its owner. As a 
favour to me." 



270 LYSBETH 

" Very well," said Adrian. 

" My gifts grow," mused the master. " I have a vision 
of this honest hand and of a great sword but, there, it is 
not worth while, too small a matter. Leave us, mother. 
It shall be returned, my word on it. Yes, gold ring and 
all. And now, young friend, let us talk. You have the 
philtre ? Well, I can promise you that it is a good one, it 
would almost bring Galatea from her marble. Pygmalion 
must have known that secret. But tell me something of 
your life, your daily thoughts and daily deeds, for when I 
give my friendship I love to live in the life of my friends." 

Thus encouraged, Adrian told him a great deal, so much, 
indeed, that the Sefior Ramiro, nodding in the shadow of 
his hood, began to wonder whether the spy behind the cup- 
board door, expert as he was, could possibly make his pen 
keep pace with these outpourings. Oh! it was a dreary 
task, but he kept to it, and by putting in a sentence here 
and there artfully turned the conversation to matters of 
faith. 

"No need to fence with me," he said presently. "I 
know how you have been brought up, how through no fault 
of your own you have wandered out of the warm bosom of 
the true Church to sit at the clay feet of the conventicle. 
You doubt it ? Well, let me look again, let me look. Yes, 
only last week you were seated in a whitewashed room 
overhanging the market-place. I see it all an ugly little 
man with a harsh voice is preaching, preaching what I 
think blasphemy. Baskets baskets ? What have baskets 
to do with him?" 

"I believe he used to make them," interrupted Adrian, 
taking the bait. 

"That may be it, or perhaps he will be buried in one; 
at any rate he is strangely mixed up with baskets. Well, 
there are others with you, a middle-aged, heavy-faced man, 
is he not Dirk van Goorl, your stepfather ? And wait a 



BETROTHED J71 

young fellow with rather a pleasant face, also a relation. 
I see his name, but I can't spell it. F F o i, faith in 
the French tongue, odd name for a heretic." 

"F-o-y Foy," interrupted Adrian again. 

" Indeed! Strange that I should have mistaken the last 
letter, but in the spirit sight and hearing these things 
chance: then there is a great man with a red beard." 

"No, Master, you're wrong," said Adrian with em- 
phasis; "Martin was not there; he stopped behind to 
watch the house." 

"Are you sure?" asked the seer doubtfully. "I look 
and I seem to see him," and he stared blankly at the wall. 

" So you might see him often enough, but not at last 
week's meeting." 

It is needless to follow the conversation further. The 
seer, by aid of a ball of crystal that he produced from the 
folds of his cloak, described his spirit visions, and the pupil 
corrected them from his intimate knowledge of the facts, 
until the Sefior Eamiro and his confederates in the cup- 
board had enough evidence, as evidence was understood in 
those days, to burn Dirk, Foy, and Martin three times 
over, and, if it should suit him, Adrian also. Then for 
that night they parted. 

Next evening Adrian was back again with the finger in 
the bottle, which Meg grabbed as a pike snatches at a frog, 
and further fascinating conversation ensued. Indeed, 
Adrian found this well of mystic lore tempered with shrewd 
advice upon love affairs and other worldly matters, and 
with flattery of his own person and gifts, singularly attrac- 
tive. 

Several times did he return thus, for as it chanced Elsa 
had been unwell and kept her room, so that he discovered 
no opportunity of administering the magic philtre that was 
to cause her heart to burn with love for him. 

At length, when even the patient Eamiro was almost 



273 LYSBETH 

worn out by the young gentleman's lengthy visits, the luck 
changed. Elsa appeared one day at dinner, and with great 
adroitness Adrian, quite unseen of anyone, contrived to 
empty the phial into her goblet of water, which, as he re- 
joiced to see, she drank to the last drop. 

But no opportunity such as he sought ensued, for Elsa, 
overcome, doubtless, by an unwonted rush of emotion, re- 
tired to battle against it in her own chamber. Since it was 
impossible to follow and propose to her there, Adrian, pos- 
sessing his soul in such patience as he could command, sat 
in the sitting-room to await her return, for he knew that it 
was not her habit to go out until five o'clock. As it hap- 
pened, however, Elsa had other arrangements for this 
afternoon, since she had promised to accompany Lysbeth 
upon several visits to the wives of neighbours, and then to 
meet her cousin Foy at the factory and walk with him in 
the meadows beyond the town. 

So while Adrian, lost in dreams, waited in the sitting- 
room Elsa and Lysbeth left the house by the side door. 

They had paid three of their visits when their path 
chanced to lead them past the old town prison which was 
called the Grevangenhuis. This place formed one of the 
gateways of the city, for it was built in the walls and 
opened on to the moat, water surrounding it on all 
sides. In front of its massive door, that was guarded by 
two soldiers, a small crowd had gathered on the drawbridge 
and in the street beyond, apparently in expectation of 
somebody or something. Lysbeth looked at the three- 
storied frowning building and shuddered, for it was here 
that heretics were put upon their trial, and here, too, many 
of them were done to death after the dreadful fashion of 
the day. 

" Hasten," she said to Elsa, as she pushed through the 
crowd, "for doubtless some horror passes here." 

" Have no fear." answered an elderly and good-natured 




IS RAMIRO . . . RAMIRO THE SPY, 



BETROTHED 273 

woman who overheard her, " we are only waiting to hear the 
new governor of the prison read his deed of appointment." 

As she spoke the doors were thrown open and a man 
he was a well-known executioner named Baptiste came out 
carrying a sword in one hand and a bunch of keys on a salver 
in the other. After him followed the governor gallantly 
dressed and escorted by a company of soldiers and the officials 
of the prison. Drawing a scroll from beneath his cloak he 
began to read it rapidly and in an almost inaudible voice. 

It was his commission as governor of the prison signed 
by Alva himself, and set out in full his powers, which were 
considerable, his responsibilities which were small, and 
other matters, excepting only the sum of money that he 
had paid for the office, that, given certain conditions, was, 
as a matter of fact, sold to the highest bidder. As may be 
guessed, this post of governor of a gaol in one of the large 
Netherland cities was lucrative enough to those who did 
not object to such a fashion of growing rich. So lucrative 
was it, indeed, that the salary supposed to attach to the 
office was never paid; at least its occupant was expected to 
help himself to it out of heretical pockets. 

As he finished reading through the paper the new gov- 
ernor looked up, to see, perhaps, what impression he had 
produced upon his audience. Now Elsa saw his face for 
the first time and gripped Lysbeth's arm. 

"It is Ramiro," she whispered, "Ramiro the spy, the 
man who dogged my father at The Hague." 

As well might she have spoken to a statue. Indeed, of a 
sudden Lysbeth seemed to be smitten into stone, for there 
she stood staring with a blanched and meaningless face at 
the face of the man opposite to her. "Well might she stare, 
for she also knew him. Across the gulf of years, one-eyed, 
bearded, withered, scarred as he was by suffering, passion 
and evil thoughts, she knew him, for there before her stood 
one whom she deemed dead, the wretch whom she had 
18 



274 LYSBETH 

believed to be her husband, Juan de Montalvo. Some mag- 
netism drew his gaze to her; out of all the faces of that 
crowd it was hers that leapt to his eye. He trembled and 
grew white; he turned away, and swiftly was gone back 
into the hell of the Gevangenhuis. Like a demon he had 
come out of it to survey the human world beyond, and 
search for victims there ; like a demon he went back into 
his own place. So at least it seemed to Lysbeth. 

" Come, come," she muttered and, drawing the girl with 
her, passed out of the crowd. 

Elsa began to talk in a strained voice that from time to 
time broke into a sob. 

" That is the man," she said. " He hounded down my 
father; it was his wealth he wanted, but my father swore 
that he would die before he should win it, and he is dead 
dead in the Inquisition, and that man is his murderer." 

Lysbeth made no answer, never a word she uttered, till 
presently they halted at a mean and humble door. Then 
she spoke for the first time in cold and constrained accents. 

"I am going in here to visit the Vrouw Jansen; you 
have heard of her, the wife of him whom they burned. 
She sent to me to say that she is sick, I know not of what, 
but there is smallpox about; I have heard of four cases of 
it in the city, so, cousin, it is wisest that you should not 
enter here. Give me the basket with the food and wine. 
Look, yonder is the factory, quite close at hand, and there 
you will find Foy. Oh! never mind Eamiro. What is 
done is done. Go and walk with Foy, and for a while 
forget Ramiro. ' ' 

At the door of the factory Elsa found Foy awaiting her, 
and they walked together through one of the gates of the 
city into the pleasant meadows that lay beyond. At first 
they did not speak much, for each of them was occupied 
with thoughts which pressed their tongues to silence. When 
they were clear of the town, however, Elsa could contain 



BETROTHED *75 

herself no more; indeed, the anguish awakened in her mind 
by the sight of Eamiro working upon nerves already over- 
strung had made her half -hysterical. She began to speak; 
the words broke from her like water from a dam which it 
has breached. She told Foy that she had seen the man, 
and more much more. All the misery which she had 
suffered, all the love for the father who was lost to her. 

At last Elsa ceased outworn, and, standing still there 
upon the river bank she wrung her hands and wept. Till 
now Foy had said nothing, for his good spirits and cheerful 
readiness seemed to have forsaken him. Even now he said 
nothing. All he did was to put his arms about this sweet 
maid's waist, and, drawing her to him, to kiss her upon 
brow and eyes and lips. She did not resist; it never seemed 
to occur to her to show resentment; indeed, she let her head 
sink upon his shoulder like the head of a little child, and 
there sobbed herself to silence. At last she lifted her face 
and asked very simply : 

" What do you want with me, Foy van Goorl ? " 

"What?" he repeated; "why I want to be your hus- 
band." 

" Is this a time for marrying and giving in marriage ? " 
she asked again, but almost as though she were speaking 
to herself. 

"I don't know that it is," he replied, "but it seems 
the only thing to do, and in such days two are better than 
one." 

She drew away and looked at him, shaking her head sadly. 
" My father," she began 

"Yes," he interrupted brightening, "thank you for 
mentioning him, that reminds me. He wished this, so I 
hope now that he is gone you will take the same 
view." 

" It is rather late to talk about that, isn't it, Foy ? " she 
stammered, looking at his shoulder and smoothing her 



37 LYSBETH 

ruffled hair with her small white hand. " But what do you 
mean?" 

So word for word, as nearly as he could remember it, 
he told her all that Hendrik Brant had said to him ill the 
cellar at The Hague before they had entered upon the des- 
perate adventure of their flight to the Haarlemer Meer. 
" He wished it, you see," he ended. 

" My thought was always his thought, and Foy I wish 
it also." 

"Priceless things are not lightly won," said he, quoting 
Brant's words as though by some afterthought. 

"There he must have been talking of the treasure, 
Foy," she answered, her face lightening to a smile. 

" Ay, of the treasure, sweet, the treasure of your dear 
heart." 

"A poor thing, Foy, but I think that it rings 
true." 

" It had need, Elsa, yet the best of coin may crack with 
rough usage." 

" Mine will wear till death, Foy." 

" I ask no more, Elsa. When I am dead, spend it else- 
where; I shall find it again above where there is no marry- 
ing or giving in marriage." 

" There would be but small change left to spend, Foy, 
so look to your own gold and see that you do not alter 
its image and superscription, for metal will melt in the fur- 
nace, and each queen has her stamp." 

"Enough," he broke in impatiently. " Why do you 
talk of such things, and in these riddles which puzzle 
me?" 

" Because, because, we are not married yet, and the 
words are not mine precious things are dearly won. Per- 
fect love and perfect peace cannot be bought with a few 
sweet words and kisses; they must be earned in trial and 
tribulation." 



BETROTHED 377 

"Of which I have no doubt we shall find plenty," Foy 
replied cheerfully. " Meanwhile, the kisses make a good 
road to travel on." 

After this Elsa did not argue any more. 

At length they turned and walked homeward through 
the quiet evening twilight, hand clasped in hand, and were 
happy in their way. It was not a very demonstrative way, 
for the Dutch have never been excitable, or at least they do 
not show their excitement. Moreover, the conditions of 
this betrothal were peculiar; it was as though their hands 
had been joined from a deathbed, the deathbed of Hendrik 
Brant, the martyr of The Hague, whose new-shed blood 
cried out to Heaven for vengeance. This sense pressing 
on both of them did not tend towards rapturous outbursts of 
youthful passion, and even if they could have shaken it off 
and let their young blood have rein, there remained an- 
other sense that of dangers ahead of them. 

"Two are better than one," Foy had said, and for her 
own reasons she had not wished to argue the point, still 
Elsa felt that to it there was another side. If two could 
comfort each other, could help each other, could love each 
other, could they not also suffer for each other ? In short, 
by doubling their lives, did they not also double their anx- 
ieties, or if children should come, treble and quadruple 
them ? This is true of all marriage, but how much more 
was it true in such days and in such a case as that of Foy 
and Elsa, both of them heretics, both of them rich, and, 
therefore, both liable at a moment's notice to be haled to 
the torment and the stake? Knowing these things, and 
having but just seen the hated face of Ramiro, it is not 
wonderful that although she rejoiced as any woman must 
that the man to whom her soul turned had declared himself 
her lover, Elsa could only drink of this joyful cup with a 
chastened and a fearful spirit. Nor is it wonderful that 
even in the hour of his triumph Foy's buoyant and hope- 



278 LYSBETH 

ful nature was chilled by the shadow of her fears and the 
forebodings of his own heart. 

When Lysbeth parted from Elsa that afternoon she went 
straight to the chamber of the Vrouw Jansen. It was a 
poor place, for after the execution of her husband his 
wretched widow had been robbed of all her property and 
now existed upon the charity of her co-religionists. Lysbeth 
found her in bed, an old woman nursing her, who said that 
she thought the patient was suffering from a fever. Lys- 
beth leant over the bed and kissed the sick woman, but 
started back when she saw that the glands of her neck were 
swollen into great lumps, while the face was flushed and the 
eyes so bloodshot as to be almost red. Still she knew her 
visitor, for she whispered : 

" What is the matter with me, Vrouw van Goorl ? Is it 
the smallpox coming on? Tell me, friend, the doctor 
would not speak." 

" I fear that it is worse ; it is the plague," said Lysbeth, 
startled into candour. 

The poor girl laughed hoarsely. " Oh ! I hoped it," 
she said. " I am glad, I am glad, for now I shall die and 
go to join him. But I wish that I had caught it before," 
she rambled on to herself, " for then I would have taken 
it to him in prison and they couldn't have treated him as 
they did." Suddenly she seemed to come to herself, for 
she added, " Go away, Vrouw van Goorl, go quickly or you 
may catch my sickness." 

" If so, I am afraid that the mischief is done, for I have 
kissed you," answered Lysbeth. " But I do not fear such 
things, though perhaps if I took it, this would save me 
many a trouble. Still, there are others to think of, and I 
will go." So, having knelt down to pray awhile by the 
patient, and given the old nurse the basket of soup and 
food, Lysbeth went. 



BETROTHED 279 

Next morning she heard that the Vrouw Jansen was 
dead, the pest that struck her being of the most fatal 
sort. 

Lysbeth knew that she had run great risk, for there is 
no disease more infectious than the plague. She deter- 
mined, therefore, that so soon as she reached home 
she would burn her dress and other articles of clothing 
and purify herself with the fumes of herbs. Then she 
dismissed the matter from her mind, which was already 
filled with another thought, a dominant, soul-possessing 
thought. 

Oh God, Montalvo had returned to Leyden ! Out of the 
blackness of the past, out of the gloom of the galleys, had 
arisen this evil genius of her life; yes, and, by a strange 
fatality, of the life of Elsa Brant also, since it was he, she 
swore, who had dogged down her father. Lysbeth was a 
brave woman, one who had passed through many dangers, 
but her whole heart turned sick with terror at the sight of 
this man, and sick it must remain till she, or he, were dead. 
She could well guess what he had come to seek. It was 
that cursed treasure of Hendrik Brant's which had drawn 
him. She knew from Elsa that for a year at least the man 
Ramiro had been plotting to steal this money at The 
Hague. He had failed there, failed with overwhelming 
and shameful loss through the bravery and resource of her 
son Foy and their henchman, Red Martin. Now he had 
discovered their identity; he was aware that they held the 
secret of the hiding-place of that accursed hoard, they and 
no others, and he had established himself in Leyden to 
wring it out of them. It was clear, clear as the setting orb 
of the red sun before her. She knew the man had she 
not lived with him ? and there could be no doubt about it, 
and he was the new governor of the Gevangenhuis. 
Doubtless he has purchased that post for his own dark pur- 
poses and to be near them. 



380 LYSBETH 

Sick and half blind with the intensity of her dread, Lys- 
beth staggered home. She must tell Dirk, that was her 
one thought; but no, she had been in contact with the 
plague, first she must purify herself. So she went to her 
room, and although it was summer, lit a great fire on the 
hearth, and in it burned her garments. Then she bathed 
and fumigated her hair and body over a brazier of strong 
herbs, such as in those days of frequent and virulent sick- 
ness housewives kept at hand, after which she dressed her- 
self afresh and went to seek her husband. She found him 
at a desk in his private room reading some paper, which at 
her approach he shuffled into a drawer. 

" What is that, Dirk ? " she asked with sudden suspicion. 

He pretended not to hear, and she repeated the query. 

" Well, wife, if you wish to know," he answered in his 
blunt fashion, "it is my will." 

" Why are you reading your will ? " she asked again, be- 
ginning to tremble, for her nerves were afire, and this sim- 
ple accident struck her as something awful and ominous. 

"For no particular reason, wife," he replied quietly, 
" only we all must die, early or late. There is no escape 
from that, and in these times it is more often early than 
late, so it is as well to be sure that everything is in order 
for those who come after us. Now, since we are on the 
subject, which I have never cared to speak about, listen to 
me." 

" What about, husband ? " 

" Why, about my will. Look you, Hendrik Brant and 
his treasure have taught me a lesson. I am not a man of 
his substance, or a tenth of it, but in some countries I 
should be called rich, for I have worked hard and God has 
prospered me. Well, of late I have been realising where I 
could, also the bulk of my savings is in cash. But the 
cash is not here, not in this country at all. You know my 
correspondents, Munt and Brown, of Norwich, in England, 



BETROTHED 281 

to whom we ship our goods for the English market. They 
are honest folk, and Munt owes me everything, almost to 
his life. "Well, they have the money, it has reached them 
safely, thanks be to God, and with it a counterpart of this 
my will duly attested, and here is their letter of acknowl- 
edgment stating that they have laid it out carefully at in- 
terest upon mortgage on great estates in Norfolk where it 
lies to my order, or that of my heirs, and that a duplicate 
acknowledgment has been filed in their English registries in 
case this should go astray. Little remains here except this 
house and the factory, and even on those I have raised 
money. Meanwhile the business is left to live on, and be- 
yond it the rents which will come from England, so that 
whether I be living or dead you need fear no want. But 
what is the matter with you, Lysbeth? You look 
strange." 

" Oh! husband, husband," she gasped, "Juan de Mont- 
alvo is here again. He has appeared as the new governor 
of the gaol. I saw him this afternoon, I cannot be mis- 
taken, although he has lost an eye and is much changed." 

Dirk's jaw dropped and his florid face whitened. " Juan 
de Montalvo! " he said. " I heard that he was dead long 
ago." 

" You are mistaken, husband, a devil never dies. He is 
seeking Brant's treasure, and he knows that we have its 
secret. You can guess the rest. More, now that I think 
of it, I have heard that a strange Spaniard is lodging with 
Hague Simon, he whom they call the Butcher, and Black 
Meg, of whom we have cause to know. Doubtless it is 
he, and Dirk, death overshadows us." 

" Why should he know of Brant's treasure, wife ? " 

" Because lie is Ramiro, the man who dogged him down, 
the man who followed the ship Swallow to the Haarlemer 
Meer. Elsa was with me this afternoon, she knew him 
again," 



282 LYSBETH 

Dirk thought a while, resting his head upon his hand. 
Then he lifted it and said : 

"I am very glad that I sent the money to Munt and 
Brown, Heaven gave me that thought. Well, wife, what 
is your counsel now ? " 

" My counsel is that we should fly from Leyden all of 
us, yes, this very night before worse happens." 

He smiled. "That cannot be; there are no means of 
flight, and under the new laws we could not pass the gates; 
that trick has been played too often. Still, in a day or 
two, when I have had time to arrange, we might escape if 
you still wish to go." 

"To-night, to-night," she urged, "or some of us stay 
for ever." 

" I tell you, wife, it is not possible. Am I a rat that I 
should be bolted from my hole thus by this ferret of a 
Montalvo ? I am a man of peace and no longer young, but 
let him beware lest I stop here long enough to pass a sword 
through him." 

"So be it, husband," she replied, "but I think it is 
through my heart that the sword will pass," and she burst 
out weeping. 

Supper that night was a somewhat melancholy meal. 
Dirk and Lysbeth sat at the ends of the table in silence. 
On one side of it were placed Foy and Elsa, who were also 
silent for a very different reason, while opposite to them 
was Adrian, who watched Elsa with an anxious and in- 
quiring eye. 

That the love potion worked he was certain, for she 
looked confused and a little flushed ; also, as would be nat- 
ural under the circumstances, she avoided his glance and 
made pretence to be interested in Foy, who seemed rather 
more stupid than usual. Well, so soon as he could 
find his chance all this would be cleared up, but mean- 



BETROTHED 383 

while the general gloom and silence were affecting his 
nerves. 

" What have you been doing this afternoon, mother?" 
Adrian asked presently. 

" I, son ? " she replied with a start, " I have been visit- 
ing the unhappy Vrouw Jansen, whom I found very sick." 

" What is the matter with her, mother ? " 

Lysbeth's mind, which had wandered away, again re- 
turned to the subject in hand with an effort. 

" The matter ? Oh ! she has the plague. " 

" The plague! " exclaimed Adrian, springing to his feet, 
' ' do you mean to say you have been consorting with a 
woman who has the plague ? " 

" I fear so," she answered with a smile, " but do not be 
frightened, Adrian, I have burnt my clothes and fumi- 
gated myself." 

Still Adrian was frightened. His recent experience of 
sickness had been ample, and although he was no coward 
he had a special dislike of infectious diseases, which at the 
time were many. 

"It is horrible," he said, "horrible. I only hope that 
we I mean you may escape. The house is unbearably 
close. I am going to walk in the courtyard," and away he 
went, for the moment, at any rate, forgetting all about Elsa 
and the love potion. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

FOY SEES A VISION 

NEVER since that day. when, many years before, she had 
bought the safety of the man she loved by promising her- 
self in marriage to his rival, had Lysbeth slept so ill as she 
did upon this night. Montalvo was alive. Montalvo was 
here, here to strike down and destroy those whom she loved, 
and triple armed with power, authority, and desire to do 
the deed. Well she knew that when there was plunder to 
be won, he would not step aside or soften until it was in his 
hands. Yet there was hope in this; he was not a cruel man, 
as she knew also, that is to say, he had no pleasure in in- 
flicting suffering for its own sake; such methods he used 
only as a means to an end. If he could get the money, all 
of it, she was sure that he would leave them alone. "Why 
should he not have it ? Why should all their lives be men- 
aced because of this trust which had been thrust upon 
them? 

Unable to endure the torment of her doubts and fears, 
Lysbeth woke her "husband, who was sleeping peacefully at 
her side, and told him what was passing in her mind. 

"It is a true saying," answered Dirk with a smile, 
" that even the best of women are never quite honest when 
their interest pulls the other way. What, wife, would 
you have us buy our own peace with Brant's fortune, and 
thus break faith with a dead man and bring down his curse 
upon us?" 

" The lives of men are more than gold, and Elsa would 
consent," she answered sullenly; "already this pelf is 



FOY SEES A VISION 285 

stained with blood, the blood of Hendrik Brant himself, 
and of Hans the pilot." 

" Yes, wife, and since you mention it, with the blood of a 
good many Spaniards also, who tried to steal the stuff. Let's 
see; there must have been several drowned at the mouth of 
the river, and quite twenty went up with the Swallow, so 
the loss has not been all on our side. Listen, Lysbeth, 
listen. It was my cousin, Hendrik Brant's, belief that in 
the end this great fortune of his would do some service to 
our people or our country, for he wrote as much in his will 
and repeated it to Foy. I know not when or in what fash- 
ion this may come about; how can I know? But first will 
I die before I hand it over to the Spaniard. Moreover, I 
cannot, since its secret was never told to me." 

" Foy and Martin have it." 

"Lysbeth," said Dirk sternly, "I charge you as you 
love me do not work upon them to betray their trust; no, 
not even to save my life or your own if we must die, let 
us die with honour. Do you promise ? " 

"I promise," she answered with dry lips, "but on this 
condition only, that you fly from Leyden with us all, to- 
night if maybe. ' ' 

"Good," answered Dirk, "a half penny for a herring; 
you have made your promise, and I'll give you mine; that's 
fair, although I am old to seek a new home in England. 
But it can't be to-night, wife, for I must make arrange- 
ments. There is a ship sailing to-day, and we might catch 
her to-morrow at the river's mouth, after she has passed 
the officers, for her captain is a friend of mine. How will 
that do ? " 

"I had rather it had been to-night," said Lysbeth. 
" While we are in Leyden with that man we are not safe 
from one hour to the next." 

" Wife, we are never safe. It is all in the hands of God, 
and, therefore, we should live like soldiers awaiting the 



286 LYSBETH 

hour to march, and rejoice exceedingly when it pleases our 
Captain to sound the call." 

"I know," she answered; "but, oh! Dirk, it would be 
hard to part. ' ' 

He turned his head aside for a moment, then said in a 
steady voice, " Yes, wife, but it will be sweet to meet again 
and part no more." 

While it was still early that morning Dirk summoned 
Foy and Martin to his wife's chamber. Adrian for his 
own reasons he did not summon, making the excuse that 
he was still asleep, and it would be a pity to disturb him; 
nor Elsa, since as yet there was no necessity to trouble 
her. Then, briefly, for he was given to few words, he set 
out the gist of the matter, telling them that the man Ba- 
miro whom they had beaten on the Haarlemer Meer was in 
Leyden, which Foy knew already, for Elsa had told him as 
much, and that he was no other than the Spaniard named 
the Count Juan de Montalvo, the villain who had de- 
ceived Lysbeth into a mock marriage by working on her 
fears, and who was the father of Adrian. All this time 
Lysbeth sat in a carved oak chair listening with a stony 
face to the tale of her own shame and betrayal. She made 
no sign at all beyond a little twitching of her fingers, till 
Foy, guessing what she suffered in her heart, suddenly went 
to his mother and kissed her. Then she wept a few silent 
tears, for an instant laid her hand upon his head as though 
in blessing, and, motioning him back to his place, became 
herself again stern, unmoved, observant. 

Next Dirk, taking up his tale, spoke of his wife's fears, 
and of her belief that there was a plot to wring out of 
them the secret of Hendrik Brant's treasure. 

"Happily," he said, addressing Foy, "neither your 
mother nor I, nor Adrian, nor Elsa, know that secret ; you 
and Martin know it alone, you and perhaps one other who 



FOY SEES A VISION 28? 

is far away and cannot be caught. We do not know it, and 
we do not wish to know it, and whatever happens to any of 
us, it is our earnest hope that neither of you will betray it, 
even if our lives, or your lives, hang upon the words, for 
we hold it better that we should keep our trust with a dead 
man at all costs than that we should save ourselves by 
breaking faith. Is it not so, wife ? " 

"It is so," answered Lysbeth hoarsely. 

"Have no fear," said Foy. "We will die before we 
betray." 

" We will try to die before we betray," grumbled Martin 
in his deep voice, " but flesh is frail and God knows." 

"Oh! I have no doubt of you, honest man," said Dirk 
with a smile, " for you have no mother and father to think 
of in this matter." 

"Then, master, you are foolish," replied Martin, "for 
I repeat it flesh is frail, and I always hated the look of a 
rack. However, I have a handsome legacy charged upon 
this treasure, and perhaps the thought of that would sup- 
port me. Alive or dead, I should not like to think of my 
money being spent by any Spaniard." 

While Martin spoke the strangeness of the thing came 
home to Foy. Here were four of them, two of whom knew 
a secret and two who did not, while those who did not im- 
plored those who did to impart to them nothing of the 
knowledge which, if they had it, might serve to save them 
from a fearful doom. Then for the first time in his young 
and inexperienced life he understood how great erring 
men and women can be and what patient majesty dwells in 
the human heart, that for the sake of a trust it does not 
seek can yet defy the most hideous terrors of the body and 
the soul. Indeed, that scene stamped itself upon his mind 
in such fashion that throughout his long existence he never 
quite forgot it for a single day. His mother, clad in her 
frilled white cap and grey gown, seated cold-faced and reso- 



288 LYSBETH 

lute in the oaken chair. His father, to whom, although 
he knew it not, he was now speaking for the last time, 
standing by her, his hand resting upon her shoulder and 
addressing them in his quiet, honest voice. Martin stand- 
ing also but a little to one side and behind, the light of the 
morning playing upon his great red beard; his round, pale 
eyes glittering as was their fashion when wrathful, and 
himself, Foy, leaning forward to listen, every nerve in his 
body strung tight with excitement, love, and fear. 

Oh ! he never forgot it, which is not strange, for so great 
was the strain upon him, so well did he know that this 
scene was but the prelude to terrible events, that for a mo- 
ment, only for a moment, his steady reason was shaken and 
he saw a vision. Martin, the huge, patient, ox-like Mar- 
tin, was changed into a red Vengeance; he saw him, great 
sword aloft, he heard the roar of his battle cry, and lo! 
before him men went down to death, and about him the 
floor seemed purple with their blood. His father and his 
mother, too; they were no longer human, they were saints 
see the glory which shone over them, and look, too, the 
dead Hendrik Brant was whispering in their ears. And he, 
Foy, he was beside Martin playing his part in those red 
frays as best he might, and playing it not in vain. 

Then all passed, and a wave of peace rolled over him, a 
great sense of duty done, of honour satisfied, of reward 
attained. Lo! the play was finished, and its ultimate 
meaning clear, but before he could read and understand 
it had gone. 

He gasped and shook himself, gripping his hands to- 
gether. 

" What have you seen, son?" asked Lysbeth, watching 
his face. 

" Strange things, mother," Foy answered. " A vision of 
war for Martin and me, of glory for my father and you, and 
of eternal peace for us all." 



FOY SEES A VISION 289 

" It is a good omen, Foy," she said. " Fight your fight 
and leave us to fight ours. ' Through much tribulation we 
must enter into the Kingdom of God,' where at last there 
is a rest remaining for us all. Ib is a good omen. Your 
father was right and I was wrong. Now I have no more 
fear; I am satisfied." 

None of them seemed to be amazed or to find these 
words wonderful and out of the common. For them the 
hand of approaching Doom had opened the gates of Dis- 
tance, and they knew everyone that through these some 
light had broken on their souls, a faint flicker of dawn from 
beyond the clouds. They accepted it in thankfulness. 

" I think that is all I have to say," said Dirk in his usual 
voice. "No, it is not all," and he told them of his plan 
for flight. They listened and agreed to it, yet to them it 
seemed a thing far off and unreal. None of them believed 
that this escape would ever be carried out. All of them 
believed that here in Leyden they would endure the fiery 
trial of their faith and win each of them its separate crown. 

When everything was discussed, and each had learned 
the lesson of what he must do that day, Foy asked if Adrian 
was to be told of the scheme. To this his father answered 
hastily that the less it was spoken of the better, therefore 
he proposed to tell Adrian late that night only, when he 
could make up his mind whether he would accompany them 
or stay in Leyden. 

" Then he shan't go out to-night, and will come with us 
as far as the ship only if I can manage it," muttered Mar- 
tin beneath his breath, but aloud he said nothing. Some- 
how it did not seem to him to be worth while to make 
trouble about it, for he knew that if he did his mistress 
and Foy, who believed so heartily in Adrian, would be 
angry. 

"Father and mother," said Foy again, "while we are 
gathered here there is something I wish to say to you." 
19 



290 LTSBETH 

" What is it, son ? " asked Dirk. 

" Yesterday I became affianced to Elsa Brant, and we 
wish to ask your consent and blessing." 

"That will be gladly given, son, for I think this very 
good news. Bring her here, Foy," answered Dirk. 

But although in his hurry Foy did not notice it, his 
mother said nothing. She liked Elsa well indeed who 
would not? but oh! this brought them a step nearer to 
that accursed treasure, the treasure which from generation 
to generation had been hoarded up that it might be a doom 
to men. If Foy were affianced to Elsa, it was his inherit- 
ance as well as hers, for those trusts of Hendrik Brant's 
will were to Lysbeth things unreal and visionary, and its 
curse would fall upon him as well as upon her. Moreover 
it might be said that he was marrying her to win the 
wealth. 

" This betrothal does not please you; you are sad, wife," 
said Dirk, looking at her quickly. 

" Yes, husband, for now I think that we shall never get 
out of Leyden. I pray that Adrian may not hear of it, 
that is all." 

" Why, what has he to do with the matter ? " 

" Only that he is madly in love with the girl. Have you 
not seen it? And you know his temper." 

"Adrian, Adrian, always Adrian," answered Dirk im- 
patiently. " Well, it is a very fitting match, for if she has 
a great fortune hidden somewhere in a swamp, which in 
fact she has not, since the bulk of it is bequeathed to me to 
be used for certain purposes; he has, or will have, moneys 
also safe at interest in England. Hark! here they come, 
so, wife, put on a pleasant face; they will think it unlucky 
if you do not smile." 

As he spoke Foy re-entered the room, leading Elsa by the 
hand, and she looked as sweet a maid as ever the sun shone 
on. So they told their story, and kneeling down before 



FOY SEES A VISION 291 

Dirk, received his blessing in the old fashion, and very glad 
were they in the after years to remember that it had been so 
received. Then they turned to Lysbeth, and she also lifted 
up her hand to bless them, but ere ever it touched their 
heads, do what she would to check it, a cry forced its way 
to her lips, and she said: 

"Oh! children, doubtless you love each other well, but 
is this a time for marrying and giving in marriage ? " 

" My own words, my very words," exclaimed Elsa, 
springing to her feet and turning pale. 

Foy looked vexed. Then recovering himself and trying 
to smile, he said : 

" And I give them the same answer that two are better 
than one; moreover, this is a betrothal, not a marriage." 

" Ay," muttered Martin behind, thinking aloud after his 
fashion, "betrothal is one thing and marriage another," 
but low as he spoke Elsa overheard him. 

" Your mother is upset," broke in Dirk, "and you can 
guess why, so do not disturb her more at present. Let us 
to our business, you and Martin to the factory to make 
arrangements there as I have told you, and I, after I have 
seen the captain, to whatever God shall call me to do. So, 
till we meet again, farewell, my son and daughter," he 
added, smiling at Elsa. 

They left the room, but as Martin was following them 
Lysbeth called him back. 

" Go armed to the factory, Martin," she said, " and see 
that your young master wears that steel shirt beneath his 
jerkin." 

Martin nodded and went. 

Adrian woke up that morning in an ill mood. He had, 
it is true, administered his love potion with singular dexter- 
ity and success, but as yet he reaped no fruit from his 
labours, and was desperately afraid lest the effect of the 



292 LYSBETH 

magic draught might wear off. When he came downstairs 
it was to find that Foy and Martin were already departed to 
the factory, and that his stepfather had gone out, whither 
he knew not. This was so much to the good, for it left the 
coast clear. Still he was none the better off, since either his 
mother and Elsa had taken their breakfast upstairs, or 
they had dispensed with that meal. His mother he could 
spare, especially after her recent contact with a plague 
patient, but under the circumstances Elsa's absence was 
annoying. Moreover, suddenly the house had become un- 
comfortable, for every one in it seemed to be running about 
carrying articles hither and thither in a fashion so aimless 
that it struck him as little short of insane. Once or twice 
also he saw Elsa, but she, too, was carrying things, and had 
no time for conversation. 

At length Adrian wearied of it and departed to the fac- 
tory with the view of making up his books, which, to tell 
the truth, had been somewhat neglected of late, to find 
that here, too, the same confusion reigned. Instead of 
attending to his ordinary work, Martin was marching to 
and fro bearing choice pieces of brassware, which were 
being packed into crates, and he noticed, for Adrian was 
an observant young man, that he was not wearing his usual 
artisan's dress. Why, he wondered to himself, should Mar- 
tin walk about a factory upon a summer's day clad in his 
armour of quilted bull's hide, and wearing his great sword 
Silence strapped round his middle ? Why, too, should Foy 
have removed the books and be engaged in going through 
them with a clerk ? Was he auditing them ? If so, he 
wished him joy of the job, since to bring them to a satis- 
factory balance had proved recently quite beyond his own 
powers. Not that there was anything wrong with the books, 
for he, Adrian, had kept them quite honestly according to 
his very imperfect lights, only things must have been left 
out, for balance they would not, Well, on the whole, he 



293 

was glad, since a man filled with lover's hopes and fears was 
in no mood for arithmetical exercises, so, after hanging 
about for a while, he returned home to dinner. 

The meal was late, an unusual occurrence, which annoyed 
him; moreover, neither his mother nor his stepfather ap- 
peared at table. At length Elsa came in looking pale and 
worried, and they began to eat, or rather to go through 
the form of eating, since neither of them seemed to have 
any appetite. Nor, as the servant was continually in the 
room, and as Elsa took her place at one end of the long 
table while he was at the other, had their tete-a-tete any of 
the usual advantages. 

At last the waiting-woman went away, and, after a few 
moments' pause, Elsa rose to follow. By this time Adrian 
was desperate. He would bear it no more; things must be 
brought to a head. 

"Elsa," he said, in an irritated voice, "everything 
seems to be very uncomfortable to-day, there is so much 
disturbance in the house that one might imagine we were 
going to shut it up and leave Leyden." 

Elsa looked at him out of the corners of her eyes; prob- 
ably by this time she had learnt the real cause of the dis- 
turbance. 

" I am sorry, Heer Adrian," she said, " but your mother 
is not very well this morning." 

" Indeed; I only hope she hasn't caught the plague from 
the Jansen woman; but that doesn't account for everybody 
running about with their hands full, like ants in a broken 
nest, especially as it is not the time of year when women 
turn all the furniture upside down and throw the curtains 
out of the windows in the pretence that they are cleaning 
them. However, we are quiet here for a while, so let us 
talk." 

Elsa became suspicious. " Your mother wants me, Heer 
Adrian," she said, turning towards the door. 



294 LYSBETH 

"Let her rest, Elsa, let her rest; there is no medicine 
like sleep for the sick." 

Elsa pretended not to hear him, so, as she still headed 
for the door, by a movement too active to be dignified, he 
placed himself in front of it, adding, " I have said that I 
want to speak with you." 

"And I have said that I am busy, Heer Adrian, so 
please let me pass." 

Adrian remained immovable. " Not until I have spoken 
to you," he said. 

Now as escape was impossible Elsa drew herself up and 
asked in a cold voice : 

" "What is your pleasure ? I pray you, be brief." 

Adrian cleared his throat, reflecting that she was keep- 
ing the workings of the love potion under wonderful con- 
trol ; indeed to look at her no one could have guessed that 
she had recently absorbed this magic Eastern medicine. 
However, something must be done; he had gone too far to 
draw back. 

" Elsa," he said boldly, though no hare could have been 
more frightened, "Elsa," and he clasped his hands, and 
looked at the ceiling, " I love you and the time has come to 
say so." 

"If I remember right it came some time ago, Heer 
Adrian," she replied with sarcasm. "I thought that by 
now you had forgotten all about it." 

"Forgotten!" he sighed, "forgotten! With you ever 
before my eyes how can I forget ? " 

" I am sure I cannot say," she answered, "but I know 
that I wish to forget this folly." 

"Folly! She calls it folly!" he mused aloud. "Oh, 
Heaven, folly is the name she gives to the life-long adora- 
tion of my bleeding heart ! " 

" You have known me exactly five weeks, Heer 
Adrian " 



SUES A VISION 295 

" Which, sweet lady, makes me desire to know you for 
fifty years." 

Elsa sighed, for she found the prospect dreary. 

"Come," he went on with a gush, "forego this virgin 
coyness, you have done enough and more than enough for 
honour, now throw aside pretence, lay down your arms and 
yield. No hour, I swear, of this long fight will be so happy 
to you as that of your sweet surrender, for remember, dear 
one, that I, your conqueror, am in truth the conquered. 
I, abandoning " 

He got no further, for at this point the sorely tried Elsa 
lost control of herself, but not in the fashion which he 
hoped for and expected. 

"Are you crazed, Heer Adrian," she asked, "that you 
should insist thus in pouring this high-flown nonsense into 
my ears when I have told you that it is unwelcome to me ? 
I understand that you ask me for my love. Well, once for 
all I tell you that I have none to give." 

This was a blow, since it was impossible for Adrian to 
put a favourable construction upon language so painfully 
straightforward. His self-conceit was pierced at last and 
collapsed like a pricked bladder. 

" None to give! " he gasped, " none to give! You don't 
mean to tell me that you have given it to anybody else ? " 

"Yes, I do," she answered, for by now Elsa was thor- 
oughly angry. 

" Indeed," he replied loftily. "Let me see; last time 
it was your lamented father who occupied your heart. 
Perhaps now it is that excellent giant, Martin, or even 
no, it is too absurd " and he laughed in his jealous rage, 
"even the family buffoon, my worthy brother Foy." 

"Yes," she replied quietly, "it is Foy." 

"Foy! Foy! Hear her, ye gods! My successful rival, 
mine, is the yellow-headed, muddy-brained, unlettered Foy 
and they say that women have souls ! Of your courtesy, 



296 LYSBETH 

answer me one question. Tell me when did this strange 
and monstrous thing happen? When did you declare 
yourself vanquished by the surpassing charms of Foy ? " 

" Yesterday afternoon, if you want to know," she said 
in the same calm and ominous voice. 

Adrian heard, and an inspiration took him. He dashed 
his hand to his brow and thought a moment; then he 
laughed loud and shrilly. 

" I have it," he said. " It is the love charm which has 
worked perversely. Elsa, you are under a spell, poor 
woman; you do not know the truth. I gave you the phil- 
tre in your drinking water, and Foy, the traitor Foy, has 
reaped its fruits. Dear girl, shake yourself free from this 
delusion, it is I whom you really love, not that base thief 
of hearts, my brother Foy." 

" What do you say ? You gave me a philtre ? You dare 
to doctor my drink with your heathen nastiness ? Out of 
the way, sir ! Stand off, and never venture to speak to me 
again. Well will it be for you if I do not tell your brother 
of your infamy." 

What happened after this Adrian could never quite re- 
member, but a vision remained of himself crouching to one 
side, and of a door flung back so violently that it threw 
him against the wall; a vision, too, of a lady sweeping past 
him with blazing eyes and lips set in scorn. That was all. 

For a while he was crushed, quite crushed; the blow 
had gone home. Adrian was not only a fool, he was also 
the vainest of fools. That any young woman on whom he 
chose to smile should actually reject his advances was bad 
and unexpected; that she should do so in favour of another 
man was worse, but that the other man should be Foy oh ! 
this was infamous and inexplicable. He was handsomer 
than Foy, no one would dream of denying it. He was 
cleverer and better read, had he not mastered the contents 
of every known romance high-souled works which Foy 



FOY SEES A VISION 297 

bluntly declared were rubbish aud refused even to open ? 
Was he not a poet ? But remembering a certain sonnet he 
did not follow this comparison. In short, how was it con- 
ceivable that a woman looking upon himself, a very type of 
the chivalry of Spain, silver-tongued, a follower nay, a 
companion of the Muses, one to whom in every previous 
adventure of the heart to love had been to conquer, could 
still prefer that broad-faced, painfully commonplace, if 
worthy, young representative of the Dutch middle classes, 
Foy van Goorl ? 

It never occurred to Adrian to ask himself another ques- 
tion, namely, how it comes about that eight young women 
out of ten are endowed with an intelligence or instinct 
sufficiently keen to enable them to discriminate between an 
empty-headed popinjay of a man, intoxicated with the 
fumes of his own vanity, and an honest young fellow of 
stable character and sterling worth ? Not that Adrian was 
altogether empty-headed, for in some ways he was clever; 
also beneath all this foam and froth the Dutch strain inher- 
ited from his mother had given a certain ballast and deter- 
mination to his nature. Thus, when his heart was thor- 
oughly set upon a thing, he could be very dogged and 
patient. Now it was set upon Elsa Brant, he did truly 
desire to win her above any other woman, and that he had 
left a different impression upon her mind was owing solely 
to the affected air and grandiloquent style of language 
culled from his precious romances which he thought it right 
to assume when addressing a lady upon matters of the 
affections. 

For a little while he was prostrate, his heart seemed 
swept clean of all hope and feeling. Then his furious 
temper, the failing that, above every other, was his curse 
and bane, came to his aid and occupied it like the seven 
devils of Scripture, bringing in its train his re-awak- 
ened vanity, hatred, jealousy, and other maddening pas- 



298 LYSBETH 

Bions. It could not be true, there must be an explanation, 
and, of course, the explanation was that Foy had been so 
fortunate, or so cunning as to make advances to Elsa soon 
after she had swallowed the love philtre. Adrian, like 
most people in his day, was very superstitious and credu- 
lous. It never even occurred to him to doubt the almost 
universally accepted power and efficacy of this witch's medi- 
cine, though even now he understood what a fool he was 
when, in his first outburst of rage, he told Elsa that he had 
trusted to such means to win her affections, instead of let- 
ting his own virtues and graces do their natural work. 

Well, the mischief was done, the poison was swallowed, 
but most poisons have their antidotes. Why was he lin- 
gering here ? He must consult his friend, the Master, and 
at once. 

Ten minutes later Adrian was at Black Meg's house. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE FEAY IN THE SHOT TOWER 

THE door was opened by Hague Simon, the bald-headed, 
great-paunched villain who lived with Black Meg. in 
answer to his visitor's anxious inquiries the Butcher said, 
searching Adrian's face with his pig-like eyes the while, that 
he could not tell for certain whether Meg was or was not at 
home. He rather thought that she was consulting the 
spirits with the Master, but they might have passed out 
without his knowing it, "for they had great gifts great 
gifts," and he wagged his fat head as he showed Adrian 
into the accustomed room. 

It was an uncomfortable kind of chamber which, in some 
unexplained way, always gave Adrian the impression that 
people, or presences, were stirring in it whom he could not 
see. Also in this place there happened odd and unac- 
countable noises; creakinge, and sighings which seemed to 
proceed from the walls and ceiling. Of course, such 
things were to be expected in a house where sojourned one 
of the great magicians of the day. Still he was not alto- 
gether sorry when the door opened and Black Meg entered, 
although some might have preferred the society of almost 
any ghost. 

" What is it, that you disturb me at such an hour ? " she 
asked sharply. 

" "What is it ? What isn't it ? " Adrian replied, his rage 
rising at the thought of his injuries. " That cursed philtre 
of yours has worked all wrong, that's what it is. Another 
man has got the benefit of it, don't you understand, you 



800 LYSBETH 

old hag ? And, by Heaven ! I believe he means to abduct 
her, yes, that's the meaning of all the packing and fuss, 
blind fool that I was not to guess it before. The Master 
I will see the Master. He must give me an antidote, an- 
other medicine " 

"You certainly look as though you want it," inter- 
rupted Black Meg drily. " Well, I doubt whether you can 
see him; it is not his hour for receiving visitors; moreover, 
I don't think he's here, so I shall have to signal for him." 

" I must see him. I will see him," shouted Adrian. 

"I daresay," replied Black Meg, squinting significantly 
at his pocket. 

Enraged as he was Adrian took the hint. 

"Woman, you seek gold," he said, quoting involuntarily 
from the last romance he had read, and presenting her with 
a handful of small silver, which was all he had. 

Meg took the silver with a sniff, on the principle that 
something is better than nothing, and departed gloomily. 
Then followed more mysterious noises; voices whispered, 
doors opened and shut, furniture creaked, after which 
came a period of exasperating and rather disagreeable 
silence. Adrian turned his face to the wall, for the only 
window in the room was so far above his head that he was 
unable to look out of it; indeed, it was more of a skylight 
than a window. Thus he remained a while gnawing at the 
ends of his moustache and cursing his fortune, till pres- 
ently he felt a hand upon his shoulder. 

" Who the devil is that ? " he exclaimed, wheeling round 
to find himself face to face with the draped and majestic 
form of the Master. 

"The devil! That is an ill word upon young lips, my 
friend," said the sage, shaking his head in reproof. 

"I daresay," replied Adrian, "but what the I mean 
how did you get here? I never heard the door open." 

"How did I get here? Well, now you mention it, I 



THE FRAY IN THE SHOT TOWER 301 

wonder how I did. The door what have I to do with 
doors?" 

"I am sure I don't know," answered Adrian shortly, 
"but most people find them useful." 

"Enough of such material talk," interrupted the sage 
with sternness. "Your spirit cried to mine, and I am 
here, let that suffice." 

"I suppose that Black Meg fetched you," went on 
Adrian, sticking to his point, for the philtre fiasco had 
made him suspicious. 

" Verily, friend Adrian, you can suppose what you will; 
and now, as I have little time to spare, be so good as to set 
out the matter. Kay, what need, I know all, for have I 
not is this the case ? You administered the philtre to the 
maid and neglected my instructions to offer yourself to her 
at once. Another saw it and took advantage of the magic 
draught. While the spell was on her he proposed, he was 
accepted yes, your brother Foy. Oh! fool, careless fool, 
what else did you expect ? " 

" At any rate I didn't expect that," replied Adrian in a 
fury. " And now, if you have all the power you pretend, 
tell me what I am to do." 

Something glinted ominously beneath the hood, it was 
the sage's one eye. 

"Young friend," he said, "your manner is brusque, 
yes, even rude. But I iinderstand and I forgive. Come, 
we will take counsel together. Tell me what has hap- 
pened." 

Adrian told him with much emphasis, and the recital of 
his adventures seemed to move the Master deeply, at any 
rate he turned away, hiding his face in his hands, while his 
back trembled with the intensity of his feelings. 

" The matter is grave," he said solemnly, when at length 
the lovesick and angry swain had finished. " There is but 
one thing to be done, Your treacherous rival oh ! what 



302 LYSBETH 

fraud and deceit are hidden beneath that homely counte- 
nance has been well advised, by whom I know not, though 
I suspect one, a certain practitioner of the Black Magic, 
named Arentz " 

" Ah! " ejaculated Adrian. 

"I see you know the man. Beware of him. He is, 
indeed, a wolf in sheep's clothing, who wraps his devilish 
incantations in a cloak of seditious doctrine. "Well, I have 
thwarted him before, for can Darkness stand before Light ? 
and, by the help of those Avho aid me, I may thwart him 
again. Now, attend and answer my questions clearly, 
slowly and truthfully. If the girl is to be saved to you, 
mark this, young friend, your cunning rival must be 
removed from Ley den for a while until the charm works 
out its power." 

" You don't mean " said Adrian, and stopped. 

" No, no. I mean the man no harm. I mean only that 
he must take a journey, which he will do fast enough, 
when he learns that his witchcrafts and other crimes are 
known. Now answer, or make an end, for I have more 
business to attend to than the love-makings of a foo of 
a headstrong youth. First : What you have told me of the 
attendances of Dirk van Goorl, your stepfather, and others 
of his household, namely, Red Martin and your half-brother 
Foy, at the tabernacle of your enemy, the wizard Arentz, 
is true, is it not ? " 

"Yes," answered Adrian, "but I do not see what that 
has to do with the matter." 

"Silence!" thundered the Master. Then he paused a 
while, and Adrian seemed to hear certain strange squeak- 
ings proceeding from the walls. The sage remained lost 
in thought till the squeakings ceased. Again he spoke: 

" What you have told me of the part played by the said 
Foy and the said Martin as to their sailing away with the 
treasure of the dead heretic, Hendrik Brant, and of the 



THE FRAY IN THE SHOT TOWER 303 

murders committed by them in the course of its hiding in 
the Haarlemer Meer, is true, is it not ? " 

" Of course it is," answered Adrian, " but " 

" Silence! " again thundered the sage, " or by my Lord 
Zoroaster, I throw up the case." 

Adrian collapsed, and there was another pause. 

"You believe," he went on again, "that the said Foy 
and the said Dirk van Goorl, together with the said Martin, 
are making preparations to abduct that innocent and un- 
happy maid, the heiress, Elsa Brant, for evil purposes of 
their own ? " 

"I never told you so," said Adrian, "but I think it is 
a fact; at least there is a lot of packing going on." 

" You never told me! Do you not understand that there 
is no need for you to tell me anything? " 

" Then, in the name of your Lord Zoroaster, why do you 
ask?" exclaimed the exasperated Adrian. 

" That you will know presently," he answered musing. 

Once more Adrian heard the strange squeaking as of 
young and hungry rats. 

" I think that I will not take up your time any more," 
he said, growing thoroughly alarmed, for really the pro- 
ceedings were a little odd, and he rose to go. 

The Master made no answer, only, which was curious 
conduct for a sage, he began to whistle a tune. 

"By your leave," said Adrian/for the magician's back 
was against the door. " I have business " 

" And so have I," replied the sage, and went on whistling. 

Then suddenly the side of one of the walls seemed to fall 
out, and through the opening emerged a man wrapped in 
a priest's robe, and after him, Hague Simon, Black Meg, 
and another particularly evil-looking fellow. 

" Got it all down ? " asked the Master in an easy, every- 
day kind of voice. 

The monk bowed, and producing several folios of manu- 



304 LYSBETH 

script, laid them on the table together with an ink-horn 
and a pen. 

" Very well. And now, my young friend, be so good as 
to sign there, at the foot of the writing." 

" Sign what ? " gasped Adrian. 

" Explain to him," said the Master. " He is quite right; 
a man should know what he puts his name to." 

Then the monk spoke in a low, business-like voice. 

"This is the information of Adrian, called Van Goorl, 
as taken down from his own lips, wherein, among other 
things, he deposes to certain crimes of heresy, murder of 
the king's subjects, an attempted escape from the king's 
dominions, committed by his stepfather, Dirk van Goorl, 
his half-brother, Foy van Goorl, and their servant, a Frisian 
known as Red Martin. Shall I read the papers ? It will 
take some time." 

" If the witness so desires," said the Master. 

" What is that document for?" whispered Adrian in a 
hoarse voice. 

" To persuade your treacherous rival, Foy van Goorl, 
that it will be desirable in the interests of his health that 
he should retire from Leyden for a while," sneered his late 
mentor, while the Butcher and Black Meg sniggered audi- 
bly. Only the monk stood silent, like a black watching 
fate. 

" I'll not sign ! " shouted Adrian. " I have been tricked ! 
There is treachery!" and he bent forward to spring for 
the door. 

Ramiro made a sign, and in another instant the Butcher's 
fat hands were about Adrian's throat, and his thick thumbs 
were digging viciously at the victim's windpipe. Still 
Adrian kicked and struggled, whereon, at a second sign, 
the villainous-looking man drew a great knife, and, com- 
ing up to him, pricked him gently on the nose. 

Then Ramiro spoke to him very suavely and quietly, 



THE FRAY IN THE SHOT TOWER 305 

"Young friend," he said, "where is that faith in me 
which you promised, and why, when I wish you to sign 
this quite harmless writing, do you so violently refuse ? " 

" Because I won't betray my stepfather and brother," 
gasped Adrian. "I know why you want my signature," 
and he looked at the man in a priest's robe. 

"You won't betray them," sneered Eamiro. "Why, 
you young fool, you have already betrayed them fifty times 
over, and what is more, which you don't seem to remem- 
ber, you have betrayed yourself. Now look here. If you 
choose to sign that paper, or if you don't choose, makes 
little difference to me, for, dear pupil, I would almost as 
soon have your evidence by word of mouth." 

"I maybe a fool," said Adrian, turning sullen; "yes, 
I see now that I have been a fool to trust in you and your 
sham arts, but I am not fool enough to give evidence 
against my own people in any of your courts. What I have 
said I said never thinking that it would do them harm." 

"Not caring whether it would do them harm or no," 
corrected Rainiro, "as you had your own object to gain 
the young lady whom, by the way, you were quite ready to 
doctor with a love medicine." 

" Because love blinded me/' said Adrian loftily. 

Ramiro put his hand upon his shoulder and shook him 
slightly as he answered : 

" And has it not struck you, you vain puppy, that other 
things may blind you also hot irons, for instance ? " 

" What do you mean ? " gasped Adrian. 

"I mean that the rack is a wonderful persuader. Oh! 
it makes the most silent talk and the most solemn sing. 
Now take your choice. Will you sign or will you go to the 
torture chamber ? " 

" What right have you to question me ? " asked Adrian, 
striving to build up his tottering courage with bold words. 

" Just this right that I to whom you speak am the Cap- 
20 



306 LYSBETH 

tain and Governor of the Gevangenhuis in this town, an 
official who has certain powers." 

Adrian turned pale but said nothing. 

" Our young friend has gone to sleep," remarked Ramiro, 
reflectively. "Here you, Simon, twist his arm a little. 
No, not the right arm; he may want that to sign with, 
which will be awkward if it is out of joint: the other." 

With an ugly grin the Butcher, taking his fingers from 
Adrian's throat, gripped his captive's left wrist, and very 
slowly and deliberately began to screw it round. 

Adrian groaned. 

"Painful, isn't it?" said Ramiro. "Well, I have no 
more time to waste, break his arm." 

Then Adrian gave in, for he was not fitted to bear tor- 
ture; his imagination was too lively. 

"I will sign," he whispered, the perspiration pouring 
from his pale face. 

"Are you quite sure you do it willingly?" queried his 
tormentor, adding, "another little half -turn, please, 
Simon; and you, Mistress Meg, if he begins to faint, just 
prick him in the thigh with your knife." 

" Yes, yes," groaned Adrian. 

" Very good. Now here is the pen. Sign." 

So Adrian signed. 

"I congratulate you upon your discretion, pupil," re- 
marked Ramiro, as he scattered sand on the writing and 
pocketed the paper. " To-day you have learned a very 
useful lesson which life teaches to most of us, namely, that 
the inevitable must rule our little fancies. Let us see ; I 
think that by now the soldiers will have executed their 
task, so, as you have done what I wished, you can go, for 
I shall know where to find you if I want you. But, if you 
will take my advice, which I offer as that of one friend to 
another, you will hold your tongue about the events of this 
afternoon. Unless you speak of it, nobody need ever know 



THE FRAY IN TEE SHOT TOWER 307 

that you have furnished certain useful information, for in 
the Gevangenhuis the names of witnesses are not mentioned 
to the accused. Otherwise you may possibly come into 
trouble with your heretical friends and relatives. Good 
afternoon. Butcher, be so good as to open the door for 
this gentleman." 

A minute later Adrian found himself in the street, towards 
which he had been helped by the kick of a heavy boot. 
His first impulse was to run, and he ran for half a mile or 
more without stopping, till at length he paused breathless 
in a deserted street, and, leaning against the wheel of an 
unharnessed waggon, tried to think. Think! How could 
he think ? His mind was one mad whirl; rage, shame, dis- 
appointed passion, all boiled in it like bones in a knacker's 
cauldron. He had been fooled, he had lost his love, and, 
oh ! infamy, he had betrayed his kindred to the hell of the 
Inquisition. They would be tortured and burnt. Yes, 
even his mother and Elsa might be burned, since those 
devils respected neither age nor sex, and their blood would 
be upon his head. It was true that he had signed under 
compulsion, but who would believe that, for had they not 
taken down his talk word for word ? For once Adrian saw 
himself as he was; the cloaks of vanity and self-love were 
stripped from his soul, and he knew what others would 
think when they came to learn the .story. He thought of 
suicide; there was water, here was steel, the deed would 
not be difficult. No, he could not; it was too horrible. 
Moreover, how dared he enter the other world so unpre- 
pared, so steeped in every sort of evil ? What, then, could 
he do to save his character and those whom his folly had 
betrayed? He looked round him; there, not three hun- 
dred yards away, rose the tall chimney of the factory. Per- 
haps there was yet time; perhaps he could still warn Foy 
and Martin of the fate which awaited them. 

Acting on the impulse of the moment, Adrian started 



308 LYSBETH 

forward, running like a hare. As he approached the build- 
ings he saw that the workmen had left, for the big doors 
were shut. He raced round to the small entrance; it was 
open he was through it, and figures were moving in the 
office. God be praised ! They were Foy and Martin. To 
them he sped, a white-faced creature with gaping mouth and 
staring eyes, to look at more like a ghost than a human being. 

Martin and Foy saw him and shrank back. Could this 
be Adrian, they thought, or was it an evil vision ? 

"Fly!" he gasped. "Hide yourselves! The officers 
of the Inquisition are after you! " Then another thought 
struck him, and he stammered, "My father and mother. 
I must warn them! " and before they could speak he had 
turned and was gone, as he went crying, " Fly! Fly! " 

Foy stood astonished till Martin struck him on the 
shoulder, and said roughly : 

" Come, let us get out of this. Either he is mad, or he 
knows something. Have you your sword and dagger? 
Quick, then." 

They passed through the door, which Martin paused to 
lock, and into the courtyard. Foy reached the gate first, 
and looked through its open bars. Then very deliberately 
he shot the bolts and turned the great key. 

" Are you brain-sick," asked Martin, " that you lock the 
gate on us?" 

" I think not," replied Foy, as he came back to him. 
" It is too late to escape. Soldiers are marching down the 
street." 

Martin ran and looked through the bars. It was true 
enough. There they came, fifty men or more, a whole 
company, heading straight for the factory, which it was 
thought might be garrisoned for defence. 

" Now I can see no help but to fight for it," Martin said 
cheerfully, as he hid the keys in the bucket of the well, 
which he let run down to the water. 



THE FRAY IN THE SHOT TOWER 309 

" What can two men do against fifty? " asked Foy, lift- 
ing his steel-lined cap to scratch his head. 

" Not much, still, with good luck, something. At least, 
as nothing but a cat can climb the walls, and the gateway 
is stopped, I think we may as well die fighting as in the 
torture-chamber of the Gevangenhuis, for that is where 
they mean to lodge us." 

" I think so too," answered Foy, taking courage. " Now 
how can we hurt them most before they quiet us ? " 

Martin looked round reflectively. In the centre of the 
courtyard stood a building not unlike a pigeon-house, or 
the shelter that is sometimes set up in the middle of a 
market beneath which merchants gather. In fact it was 
a shot tower, where leaden bullets of different sizes were 
cast and dropped through an opening in the floor into a 
shallow tank below to cool, for this was part of the trade 
of the foundry. 

"That would be a good place to hold," he said; "and 
crossbows hang upon the walls." 

Foy nodded, and they ran to the tower, but not without 
being seen, for as they set foot upon its stair, the officer in 
command of the soldiers called upon them to surrender in 
the name of the King. They made no answer, and as they 
passed through the doorway, a bullet from an arquebus 
struck its woodwork. 

The shot tower stood upon oaken piles, and the chamber 
above, which was round, and about twenty feet in diameter, 
was reached by a broad ladder of fifteen steps, such as is 
often used in stables. This ladder ended in a little land- 
ing of about six feet square, and to the left of the landing 
opened the door of the chamber where the shot were cast. 
They went up into the place. 

"What shall we do now?" said Foy, "barricade the 
door ? " 

" I can see no use in that," answered Martin, " for then 



310 LYSBETH 

they would batter it down, or perhaps burn a way through 
it. No; let us take it off its hinges and lay it on blocks 
about eight inches high, so that they may catch their shins 
against it when they try to rush us." 

" A good notion," said Foy, and they lifted off the nar- 
row oaken door and propped it up on four moulds of metal 
across the threshold, weighting it with other moulds. Also 
they strewed the floor of the landing with three-pound 
shot, so that men in a hurry might step on them and fall. 
Another thing they did, and this was Foy's notion. At 
the end of the chamber were the iron baths in which the 
lead was melted, and beneath them furnaces ready laid for 
the next day's founding. These Foy set alight, pulling 
out the dampers to make them burn quickly, and so melt the 
leaden bars which lay in the troughs. 

"They may come underneath," he said, pointing to the 
trap through which the hot shot were dropped into the 
tank, "and then molten lead will be useful." 

Martin smiled and nodded. Then he took down a cross- 
bow from the walls, for in those days, when every dwelling 
and warehouse might have to be used as a place of defence, 
it was common to keep a good store of weapons hung some- 
where ready to hand, and went to the narrow window which 
overlooked the gate. 

" As I thought," he said. " They can't get in and don't 
like the look of the iron spikes, so they are fetching a smith 
to burst it open. We must wait." 

Very soon Foy began to fidget, for this waiting to be 
butchered by an overwhelming force told upon his nerves. 
He thought of Elsa and his parents, whom he would never 
see again; he thought of death and all the terrors and 
wonders that might lie beyond it; death whose depths he 
must so soon explore. He had looked to his crossbow, had 
tested the string and laid a good store of quarrels on the 
floor beside him ; he had taken a pike from the walls and 



THE FRAY IN THE SHOT TOWER 311 

seen to its shaft and point ; lie had stirred the fires beneath 
the leaden bars till they roared in the sharp draught. 

" Is there nothing more to do ? " he asked. 

"Yes," replied Martin, "we might say our prayers; 
they will be the last," and suiting his action to the word, 
the great man knelt down, an example which Foy followed. 

" Do you speak," said Foy, " I can't think of anything." 

So Martin began a prayer which is perhaps worthy of 
record : 

" Lord," he said, " forgive me all my sins, which are 
too many to count, or at least I haven't the time to try, 
and especially for cutting off the head of the executioner 
with his own sword, although I had no death quarrel 
against him, and for killing a Spaniard in a boxing match. 
Lord, I thank you very much because you have arranged 
for us to die fighting instead of being tortured and burnt 
in the gaol, and I pray that we may be able to kill enough 
Spaniards first to make them remember us for years to 
come. Lord, protect my dear master and mistress^ and 
let the former learn that we have made an end of which he 
would approve, but if may be, hide it from the Pastor 
Arentz, who might think that we ought to surrender. 
That is all I have to say. Amen." 

Then Foy did his own praying, and it was hearty enough, 
but we need scarcely stop to set down its substance. 

Meanwhile the Spaniards had found a blacksmith, who 
was getting to work upon the gate, for they could see him 
through the open upper bars. 

"Why don't you shoot?" asked Foy. "You might 
catch him with a bolt." 

" Because he is a poor Dutchman whom they have pressed 
for the job, while they stand upon one side. We must wait 
till they break down the gate. Also we must fight well 
when the time comes, Master Foy, for, see, folk are watch- 
ing us, and they will expect it," and he pointed upwards. 



312 LYSBETH 

Foy looked. The foundry courtyard was surrounded by 
tall gabled houses, and of these the windows and balconies 
were already crowded with spectators. Word had gone 
round that the Inquisition had sent soldiers to seize one of 
the young Van Goorls and Red Martin that they were 
battering at the gates of the factory. Therefore the citi- 
zens, some of them their own workmen, gathered there, 
for they did not think that Red Martin and Foy van Goorl 
would be taken easily. 

The hammering at the gate went on, but it was very 
stout and would not give. 

"Martin," said Foy presently, "I am frightened. I 
feel quite sick. I know that I shall be no good to you 
when the pinch comes." 

" Now I am sure that you are a brave man," answered 
Martin with a short laugh, "for otherwise you would never 
have owned that you feel afraid. Of course you feel afraid, 
and so do I. It is the waiting that does it; but when once 
the first blow has been struck, why, you will be as happy 
as a priest. Look you, master. So soon as they begin to 
rush the ladder, do you get behind me, close behind, for 
I shall want all the room to sweep with my sword, and if 
we stand side by side we shall only hinder each other, while 
with a pike you can thrust past me, and be ready to deal 
with any who win through." 

" You mean that you want to shelter me with your big 
carcase," answered Foy. " But you are captain here. At 
least I will do my best," and putting his arms about the 
great man's middle, he hugged him affectionately. 

"Look! look!" cried Martin. "The gate is down. 
Now, first shot to you," and he stepped to one side. 

As he spoke the oaken doors burst open and the Spanish 
soldiers began to stream through them. Suddenly Foy's 
nerve returned to him and he grew steady as a rock. Lift- 
ing his crossbow he aimed and pulled the trigger. The 



THE FRAY IN THE SHOT TOWER 313 

string twanged, the quarrel rushed forth with a whistling 
sound, and the first soldier, pierced through breastplate and 
through breast, sprang into the air and fell forward. Foy 
stepped to one side to string his bow. 

" Good shot," said Martin taking his place, while from 
the spectators in the windows went up a sudden shout. 
Martin fired and another man fell. Then Foy fired again 
and missed, but Martin's next bolt struck the last soldier 
through the arm and pinned him to the timber of the 
broken gate. After this they could shoot no more, for the 
Spaniards were beneath them. 

"To the doorway," said Martin, "and remember what 
I told you. Away with the bows, cold steel must do the 
rest." 

Now they stood by the open door, Martin, a helmet from 
the walls upon his head, tied beneath his chin with a piece 
of rope because it was too small for him, the great sword 
Silence lifted ready to strike, and Foy behind gripping the 
long pike with both hands. Below them from the gathered 
mob of soldiers came a confused clamour, then a voice 
called out an order and they heard footsteps on the stair. 

" Look out; they are coming," said Martin, turning his 
head so that Foy caught sight of his face. It was trans- 
figured, it was terrible. The great red beard seemed to 
bristle, the pale blue unshaded eyes rolled and glittered, 
they glittered like the blue steel of the sword Silence that 
wavered above them. In that dread instant of expectancy 
Foy remembered his vision of the morning. Lo! it was 
fulfilled, for before him stood Martin, the peaceful, patient 
giant, transformed into a Red Vengeance. 

A man reached the head of the ladder, stepped upon one 
of the loose cannon-balls and fell with an oath and a crash. 
But behind him came others. Suddenly they turned the 
corner, suddenly they burst into view, three or four of 
them together. Gallantly they rushed on. The first of 



314 LYSBETH 

them caught his feet in the trap of the door and fell head- 
long across it. Of him Martin took no heed, but Foy did, 
for before ever the soldier could rise he had driven his pike 
down between the man's shoulders, so that he died there 
upon the door. At the next Martin struck, and Foy saw 
this one suddenly grow small and double up, which, if he 
had found leisure to examine the nature of that wound, 
would have surprised him very little. Another man fol- 
lowed so quickly that Martin could not lift the sword to 
meet him. But he pointed with it, and next instant was 
shaking his carcase off its blade. 

After this Foy could keep no count. Martin slashed 
with the sword, and when he found a chance Foy thrust 
with the pike, till at length there were none to thrust at, 
for this was more than the Spaniards had bargained. Two 
of them lay dead in the doorway, and others had been 
dragged or had tumbled down the ladder, while from the 
onlookers at the windows without, as they caught sight 
of them being brought forth slain or sorely wounded, went 
up shout upon shout of joy. 

" So far we have done very well," said Martin quietly, 
" but if they come up again, we must be cooler and not 
waste our strength so much. Had I not struck so hard, 
I might have killed another man." 

But the Spaniards showed no sign of coming up any 
more; they had seen enough of that narrow way and of 
the red swordsman who awaited them in the doorway round 
the corner. Indeed it was a bad place for attackers, since 
they could not shoot with arquebuses or arrows, but must 
pass in to be slaughtered like sheep at the shambles in the 
dim room beyond. So, being cautious men who loved 
their lives, they took a safer counsel. 

The tank beneath the shot-tower, when it was not in use, 
was closed with a stone cover, and around this they piled 
firewood and peats from a stack in the corner of the yard, 




TWO MEN . . . BURSTING THROUGH THE BARTUER OF FLAMING WOOD. 



THE FRAY IN THE SHOT TOWER 315 

and standing in the centre out of the reach of arrows, set 
light to it. Martin lay down watching them through a 
crack in the floor. Then he signed to Foy, and whispered, 
and going to the iron baths, Foy drew from them two large 
buckets of molten lead, each as much as a man could carry. 
Again Martin looked through the crack, waiting till several 
of the burners were gathered beneath. Then, with a swift 
motion he lifted up the trap-door, and as those below stared 
upwards wondering, full into their faces came the buckets 
of molten lead. Down went two of them never to speak 
more, while others ran out shrieking and aflame, tearing at 
their hair and garments. 

After this the Spaniards grew more wary, and built their 
fires round the oak piers till the flames eating up them 
fired the building, and the room above grew full of little 
curling wreaths of smoke. 

" Now we must choose," said Martin, " whether we will 
be roasted like fowls in an oven, or go down and have our 
throats cut like pigs in the open." 

" For my part, I mean to die in the air," coughed Foy. 

" So say I, master. Listen. We can't get down the 
stair, for they are watching for us there, so we must drop 
from the trap-door and charge through the fire. Then, if 
we are lucky, back to back and fight it out." 

Half a minute later two men bearing naked swords in 
their hands might be seen bursting through the barrier of 
flaming wood. Out they came safely enough, and there in 
an open space not far from the gateway, halted back to 
back, rubbing the water from their smarting eyes. On 
them, a few seconds later, like hounds on a wounded boar, 
dashed the mob of soldiers, while from every throat of the 
hundreds who were watching went up shrill cries of encour- 
agement, grief, and fear. Men fell before them, but others 
rushed in. They were down, they were up again, once 
more they were down, and this time only one of them rose, 



316 LYSBETH 

the great man Martin. He staggered to his feet, shaking 
off the soldiers who tried to hold him, as a dog in the 
game-pit shakes off rats. He was up, he stood across the 
body of his companion, and once more that fearful sword 
was sweeping round, bringing death to all it touched. 
They drew back, but a soldier, old in war, creeping behind 
him suddenly threw a cloak over his head. Then the end 
came, and slowly, very slowly, they overmatched his 
strength, and bore him down and bound him, while the 
watching mob groaned and wept with grief. 



CHAPTER XX 

IN THE GEVANGESTHUIS 

WHEN Adrian left the factory he ran on to the house in 
the Bree Straat. 

"Oh! what has happened ? " said his mother as he burst 
into the room where she and Elsa were at work. 

" They are coming for him," he gasped. " The soldiers 
from the Gevangenhuis. Where is he? Let him escape 
quickly my stepfather." 

Lysbeth staggered and fell back into her chair. 

" How do you know ? " she asked. 

At the question Adrian's head swam and his heart stood 
still. Yet his lips found a lie. 

"I overheard it," he said; "the soldiers are attacking 
Foy and Martin in the factory, and I heard them say that 
they were coming here for him." 

Elsa moaned aloud, then she turned on him like a tiger, 
asking : 

" If so, why did you not stay to help them ? " 

" Because," he answered with a touch of his old pom- 
posity, " my first duty was towards my mother and you." 

"He is out of the house," broke in Lysbeth in a low 
voice that was dreadful to hear. "He is out of the house, 
I know not where. Go, son, and search for him. Swift! 
Be swift!" 

So Adrian went forth, not sorry to escape the presence of 
these tormented women. Here and there he wandered to 
one haunt of Dirk's after another, but without success, till 
at length a noise of tumult drew him, and he ran towards 






818 LYSBBTE 

the sound. Presently he was round the corner, aud this 
was what he saw. 

Advancing down the wide street leading to the Gevangen- 
huis came a body of Spanish soldiers, and in the centre of 
them were two figures whom it was easy for Adrian to rec- 
ognise Bed Martin and his brother Foy. Martin, although 
his bull-hide jerkin was cut and slashed and his helmet had 
gone, seemed to be little hurt, for he was still upright and 
proud, walking along with his arms lashed behind him, 
while a Spanish officer held the point of a sword, his own 
sword Silence, near his throat ready to drive it home should 
he attempt to escape. With Foy the case was different. 
At first Adrian thought that he was dead, for they were 
carrying him upon a ladder. Blood fell from his head and 
legs, while his doublet seemed literally to be rent to pieces 
with sword-cuts and dagger-thrusts; and in truth had it 
not been for the shirt of mail which he wore beneath, he 
must have been slain several times over. But Foy was not 
dead, for as Adrian watched he saw his head turn upon the 
ladder and his hand rise up and fall again. 

But this was not all, for behind appeared a cart drawn 
by a grey horse, and in it were the bodies of Spanish sol- 
diers how many Adrian could not tell, but there they lay 
with their harness still on them. After these again, in a 
long and melancholy procession, marched other Spanish 
soldiers, some of them sorely wounded, and, like Foy, car- 
ried upon doors or ladders, and others limping forward with 
the help of their comrades. No wonder that Martin walked 
proudly to his doom, since behind him came the rich har- 
vest of the sword Silence. Also, there were other signs to 
see and hear, since about the cavalcade surged and roared 
a great mob of the citizens of Leyden. 

"Bravo, Martin! "Well fought, Foy van Goorl!" they 
shouted, " We are proud of you! We are proud of you! " 
Then from the back of the crowd someone cried, " Rescue 



IN THE GEVANGENHUIS 819 

them ! " " K ill the Inquisition dogs ! " " Tear the Span- 
iards to pieces! " 

A stone flew through the air, then another and another, 
but at a word of command the soldiers faced about and the 
mob drew back, for they had no leader. So it went on till 
they were within a hundred yards of the Gevangenhuis. 

"Don't let them be murdered," cried the voice. "A 
rescue! a rescue! " and with a roar the crowd fell upon the 
soldiers. It was too late, for the Spaniards, trained to 
arms, closed up and fought their way through, taking their 
prisoners with them. But they cost them dear, for the 
wounded men, and those who supported them, were cut 
off. They were cut off, they were struck down. In a 
minute they were dead, every one of them, and although 
they still held its fortresses and walls, from that hour the 
Spaniards lost their grip of Leyden, nor did they ever win 
it back again. From that hour to this Leyden has been 
free. Such were the first fruits of the fight of Poy and 
Martin against fearful odds. 

The great doors of oak and iron of the Gevangenhuis 
clashed to behind the prisoners, the locks were shot, and 
the bars fell home, while outside raved the furious crowd. 

The place was not large nor very strong, merely a draw- 
bridge across the narrow arm of moat, a gateway with a 
walled courtyard beyond, and over it a three-storied house 
built in the common Dutch fashion", but with straight barred 
windows. To the right, under the shadow of the archway, 
which, space being limited, was used as an armoury, and 
hung with weapons, lay the court-room where prisoners 
were tried, and to the left a vaulted place with no window, 
not unlike a large cellar in appearance. This was the 
torture-chamber. Beyond was the courtyard, and at the 
back of it rose the prison. In this yard were waiting the 
new governor of the jail, Ramiro, and with him a little 
red-faced, pig-eyed man dressed in a rusty doublet. He 



820 LYSBETH 

was the Inquisitor of the district, especially empowered as 
delegate of the Blood Council and under various edicts and 
laws to try and to butcher heretics. 

The officer in command of the troops advanced to make 
his report. 

"What is all that noise?" asked the Inquisitor in a 
frightened, squeaky voice. " Is this city also in rebel- 
lion?" 

"And where are the rest of you?" said Ramiro, scan- 
ning the thin files. 

" Sir," answered the officer saluting, " the rest of us are 
dead. Some were killed by this red rogue and his com- 
panion, and the mob have the others." 

Then Eamiro began to curse and to swear, as well he 
might, for he knew that when this story reached headquar- 
ters, his credit with Alva and the Blood Council would be 
gone. 

" Coward! " he yelled, shaking his fist in the face of the 
officer. " Coward to lose a score or more of men in taking 
a brace of heretics." 

"Don't blame me, sir," answered the man sullenly, for 
the word stirred his bile, " blame the mob and this red 
devil's steel, which went through us as though we were wet 
clay," and he handed him the sword Silence. 

"It fits the man," muttered Mental vo, "for few else 
could wield such a blade. Go hang it in the gateway, it 
may be wanted in evidence," but to himself he thought, 
" Bad luck again, the luck that follows me whenever I pit 
myself against Lysbeth van Hout." Then he gave an 
order, and the two prisoners were taken away up some 
narrow stairs. 

At the top of the first flight was a solid door through 
which they passed, to find themselves in a large and dark- 
some place. Down the centre of this place ran a passage. 
On either side of the passage, dimly lighted by high iron- 



IN THE QEVANGENHUIS 321 

barred windows, were cages built of massive oaken bars, 
and measuring each of them eight or ten feet square, very 
dens such as might have served for wild beasts, but filled 
with human beings charged with offences against the doc- 
trines of the Church. Those who chance to have seen the 
prison of the Inquisition at The Hague as it still stands 
to-day, will know what they were like. 

Into one of these dreadful holes they were thrust, Foy, 
wounded as he was, being thrown roughly upon a heap of 
dirty straw in the corner. Then, having bolted and locked 
the door of their den, the soldiers left them. 

As soon as his eyes grew accustomed to the light, Martin 
stared about him. The conveniences of the dungeon were 
not many; indeed, being built above the level of the 
ground, it struck the imagination as even more terrible 
than any subterranean vault devoted to the same dreadful 
purpose. By good fortune, however, in one corner of it 
stood an earthenware basin and a large jug of water. 

"I will take the risk of its being poisoned," thought 
Martin to himself, as lifting the jug he drank deep of it, 
for what between fighting, fire and fury there seemed to be 
no moisture left in him. Then, his burning thirst satis- 
fied at last, he went to where Foy lay unconscious and 
began to pour water, little by little, into his mouth, which, 
senseless as he was, he swallowed mechanically and pres- 
ently groaned a little. Next, as well as he could, Martin 
examined his comrade's wounds, to find that what had made 
him insensible was a cut upon the right side of the head, 
which, had it not been for his steel-lined cap, must certainly 
have killed him, but as it was, beyond the shock and bruise, 
seemed in no way serious. 

His second hurt was a deep wound in the left thigh, but 

being on the outside of the limb, although he bled much 

it had severed no artery. Other injuries he had also upon 

the forearms and legs, also beneath the chain shirt his 

21 



322 LYSBETH 

body was bruised with the blows of swords and daggers, 
but none of these were dangerous. 

Martin stripped him as tenderly as he might and washed 
his wounds. Then he paused, for both of them were wear- 
ing garments of flannel, which is unsuitable for the dressing 
of hurts. 

" You need linen," said a woman's voice, speaking from the 
next den. " Wait awhile and I will give you my smock." 

"How can I take your garment, lady, whoever you may 
be," answered Martin, " to bind about the limbs of a man 
even if he is wounded ? " 

"Take it and welcome," answered the unknown in 
sweet, low tones, "I want it no more; they are going to 
execute me to-night." 

" Execute you to-night? " muttered Martin. 

" Yes," replied the voice, " in the court-room or one of 
the cellars, I believe, as they dare not do it outside because 
of the people. By beheading am I not fortunate ? Only 
by beheading." 

" Oh! God, where art Thou ? " groaned Martin. 

" Don't be sorry for me," answered the voice, " I am 
very glad. There were three of us, my father, my sister, 
and I, and you can guess well, I wish to join them. 
Also it is better to die than to go through what I have suf- 
fered again. But here is the garment. I fear that it is 
stained about the neck, but it will serve if you tear it into 
strips," and a trembling, delicate hand, which held the 
linen, was thrust between the oaken bars. 

Even in that light, however, Martin saw that the wrist 
was cut and swollen. He saw it, and because of that ten- 
der, merciful hand he registered an oath about priests and 
Spaniards, which, as it chanced, he lived to keep very thor- 
oughly. Also, he paused awhile wondering if all this was 
of any good, wondering if it would not be best to let Foy 
die at once, or even to kill him. 



IN THE OEVANOENHUIS 828 

" What are you thinking about, sir ? " asked the lady on 
the other side of the bars. 

"lam thinking," answered Martin, "that perhaps my 
young master here would be better dead, and that I am a 
fool to stop the bleeding." 

"No, no," said the sweet voice, "do your utmost and 
leave the rest to God. It pleases God that I should die, 
which matters little as I am but a weak girl; it may please 
Him that this young man shall live to be of service to his 
country and his faith. I say, bind up the wounds, good 
sir." 

"Perhaps you are right," answered Martin. "Who 
knows, there's a key to every lock, if only it can be found." 
Then he set to work upon Foy's wounds, binding them 
round with strips of the girl's garment dipped in water, 
and when he had done the best he could he clothed him 
again, even to the chain shirt. 

"Are you not hurt yourself?" asked the voice pres- 
ently. 

"A little, nothing to speak of; a few cuts and bruises, 
that's all ; this bull's hide turned their swords." 

" Tell me whom you have been fighting," she said. 

So, to while away the time while Foy still lay senseless, 
Martin told her the story of the attack upon the shot tower, 
of how they had driven the Spaniards down the ladder, of 
how they had drenched them with molten lead, and of their 
last stand in the courtyard when they were forced from the 
burning building. 

"Oh! what a fearful fight two against so many," said 
the voice with a ring of admiration in it. 

"Yes," answered Martin, "it was a good fight the 
hottest that ever I was in. For myself I don't much care, 
for they've paid a price for my carcase. I didn't tell you, 
did I, that the mob set on them as they haled us here and 
pulled four wounded men and those who carried them to 



324 LYSBETH 

bits ? Oh ! yes, they have paid a price, a very good price 
for a Frisian boor and a Leyden burgher." 

" God pardon their souls," murmured the unknown. 

" That's as He likes," said Martin, "and no affair of 
mine; I had only to do with their bodies and " At this 
moment Foy groaned, sat up and asked for something to 
drink. 

Martin gave him water from the pitcher. 

" Where am I ? " he asked, and he told him. 

"Martin, old fellow," said Foy in an uncertain voice, 
" we are in a very bad way, but as we have lived through 
this" here his characteristic hopefulness asserted itself 
" I believe, I believe that we shall live through the rest." 

"Yes, young sir," echoed the thin, faint notes out of 
the darkness beyond the bars, "I believe, too, that you 
will live through the rest, and I am praying that it may 
be so." 

" Who is that? " asked Foy drowsily. 

"Another prisoner," answered Martin. 

" A prisoner who will soon be free," murmured the voice 
again through the blackness, for by now night had fallen, 
and no light came from the hole above. 

Then Foy fell into sleep or stupor, and there was silence 
for a long while, until they heard the bolts and bars of the 
door of the dungeon creaking, and the glint of a lantern 
appeared floating on the gloom. Several men tramped 
down the narrow gangway, and one of them, unlocking 
their cage, entered, filled the jug of water from a leather 
jack, and threw down some loaves of black bread and 
pieces of stockfish, as food is thrown to dogs. Having 
examined the pair of them he grunted and went away, little 
knowing how near he had been to death, for the heart of 
Martin was mad. But he let him go. Then the door of 
the next cell was opened, and a man said, " Come out. It 
is time." 



IN THE GEVANGENHUIS 325 

"It is time and I am ready," answered the thin voice. 
" Good-bye, friends, God be with you." 

" Good-bye, lady," answered Martin; "may you soon be 
with God." Then he added, by an afterthought, "What 
is your name ? I should like to know." 

" Mary," she replied, and began to sing a hymn, and so, 
still singing the hymn, she passed away to her death. They 
never saw her face, they never learned who she might be, 
this poor girl who was but an item among the countless 
victims of perhaps the most hideous tyranny that the world 
has ever known one of Alva's slaughtered sixty thousand. 
But many years afterwards, when Foy was a rich man in a 
freer land, he built a church and named it Mary's kirk. 

The long night wore away in silence, broken only by the 
groans and prayers of prisoners in dens upon the same floor, 
or with the solemn rhythm of hymns sung by those above, 
till at length the light, creeping through the dungeon lat- 
tices, told them that it was morning. At its first ray Mar- 
tin awoke much refreshed, for even there his health and 
weariness had brought sleep to him. Foy also awoke, stiff 
and sore, but in his right mind and very hungry. Then 
Martin found the loaves and the stockfish, and they filled 
themselves, washing down the meal with water, after which 
he dressed Foy's wounds, making a poultice for them out 
of the crumb of the bread, and doctored his own bruises as 
best he could. 

It must have been ten o'clock or later when again the 
doors were opened, and men appeared who commanded 
that they should follow them. 

"One of us can't walk," said Martin; "still, perhaps 
I can manage," and, lifting Foy in his arms as though he 
had been a baby, he passed with the jailers out of the den, 
down the stair, and into the court-room. Here, seated 
behind a table, they found Eamiro and the little, squeaky- 
voiced, red-faced Inquisitor. 



326 LYSBETH 

" Heaven above us! " said the Inquisitor, " what a great 
hairy ruffian; it makes me feel nervous to be in the same 
place with him. I beg you, Governor Ramiro, instruct 
your soldiers to be watching and to stab him at the first 
movement." 

"Have no fear, noble sir," answered Ramiro, "the vil- 
lain is quite unarmed." 

"I daresay, I daresay, but let us get on. Now what is 
the charge against these people? Ah! I see, heresy like 
the last upon the evidence of oh ! well, never mind. Well, 
we will take that as proved, and, of course, it is enough. 
But what more? Ah! here it is. Escaped from The 
Hague with the goods of a heretic, killed sundry of his 
Majesty's lieges, blew up others on the Haarlemer Meer, 
and yesterday, as we know for ourselves, committed a whole 
series of murders in resisting lawful arrest. Prisoners, have 
you anything to say ? " 

" Plenty," answered Foy. 

" Then save your trouble and my time, since nothing can 
excuse your godless, rebellious, and damnable behaviour. 
Friend Governor, into your hands I deliver them, and may 
God have mercy on their souls. See, by the way, that you 
have a priest at hand to shrive them at last, if they will be 
shriven, just for the sake of charity, but all the other 
details I leave to you. Torment? Oh! of course if you 
think there is anything to be gained by it, or that it will 
purify their souls. And now I will be going on to Haar- 
lem, for I tell you frankly, friend Governor, that I don't 
think this town of Leyden safe for an honest officer of the 
law; there are too many bad characters here, schismatics 
and resisters of authority. What ? The warrant not ready ? 
Well, I will sign it in blank. You can fill it in. There. 
God forgive you, heretics; may your souls find peace, which 
is more, I fear, than your bodies will for the next few hours. 
Bah ! friend Governor, I wish you had not made me assist 



7.2V TEE GEVANOENHUIS 327 

at the execution of that girl last night, especially as I under- 
stand she leaves no property worth having; her white face 
haunts my mind, I can't be rid of the look of those great 
eyes. Oh! these heretics, to what sorrow do they put us 
orthodox people! Farewell, friend Governor; yes, I think 
I will go out by the back way, some of those turbulent 
citizens might be waiting in front. Farewell, and temper 
justice with mercy if you can," and he was gone. 

Presently Ramiro, who had accompanied him to the gate, 
returned. Seating himself on the further side of the table, 
he drew his rapier and laid it before him. Then, having 
first commanded them to bring a chair in which Foy might 
sit, since he could not stand because of his wounded leg, 
he told the guard to fall back out of hearing, but to be 
ready should he need them. 

" Not much dignity about that fellow," he said, address- 
ing Martin and Foy in a cheerful voice ; ' ' quite different 
from the kind of thing you expected, I daresay. E~o hooded 
Dominican priests, no clerks taking notes, no solemnities, 
nothing but a little red-faced wretch, perspiring with terror 
lest the mob outside should catch him, as for my part I 
hope they may. Well, gentlemen, what can you expect, 
seeing that, to my knowledge, the man is a bankrupt tailor 
of Antwerp ? However, it is the substance we have to deal 
with, not the shadow, and that's real enough, for his sig- 
nature on a death warrant is as good as that of the Pope, 
or his gracious Majesty King Philip, or, for the matter of 
that, of Alva himself. Therefore, you are dead men." 

" As you would have been had I not been fool enough to 
neglect Martin's advice out in the Haarlemer Meer and let 
you escape," answered Foy. 

" Precisely, my young friend, but you see my guardian 
angel was too many for you, and you did neglect that ex- 
cellent counsel. But, as it happens, it is just about the 
Haarlemer Meer that I want to have a word with you." 



328 LYSBETH 

Foy and Martin looked at each other, for now they 
understood exactly why they were there, and Ramiro, 
watching them out of the corners of his eyes, went on in 
a low voice : 

" Let us drop this and come to business. You hid it, 
and you know where it is, and I am in need of a com- 
petence for my old age. Now, I am not a cruel man; I 
wish to put no one to pain or death ; moreover, I tell you 
frankly, I admire both of you very much. The escape 
with the treasure on board your boat Swalloiv, and the 
blowing up, were both exceedingly well managed, with but 
one mistake which you, young sir, have pointed out," and 
he bowed and smiled. "The fight that you made yester- 
day, too, was splendid, and I have entered the details of it 
in my own private diary, because they ought not to be for- 
gotten." 

Now it was Foy's turn to bow, while even on Martin's 
grim and impassive countenance flickered a faint Bmile. 

"Naturally," went on Eamiro, "I wish to save such 
men, I wish you to go hence quite free and unharmed," 
and he paused. 

" How can we after we have been condemned to death ? " 
asked Foy. 

" "Well, it does not seem difficult. My friend, the tailor 
I mean the Inquisitor who, for all his soft words, is a 
cruel man indeed, was in a hurry to be gone, and he 
signed a blank warrant, always an incautious thing to do. 
Well, a judge can acquit as well as condemn, and this one 
is no exception. What is there to prevent me filling this 
paper in with an order for your release ? " 

"And what is there to show us that you would release 
us after all ? " asked Foy. 

"Upon the honour of a gentleman," answered Ramiro 
laying his hand on his heart. " Tell me what I want to 
know, give me a week to make certain necessary arrange- 



IN THE GEVAN&ENHUIS 829 

ments, and so soon as I am back you shall both of you be 
freed." 

"Doubtless," said Foy, angrily, "upon such honour as 
gentlemen learn in the galleys, Sefior Ramiro I beg your 
pardon, Count Juan de Montalvo." 

Ramiro's face grew crimson to the hair. 

"Sir," he said, "were I a different sort of man, for 
those words you should die in a fashion from which even 
the boldest might shrink. But you are young and inexperi- 
enced, so I will overlook them. Now this bargaining must 
come to a head. "Which will you have, life and safety, or 
the chance which under the circumstances is no chance at 
all that one day, not you, of course, but somebody 
interested in it, m/iy recover a hoard of money and 
jewels ? " 

Then Martin spoke for the first time, very slowly and 
respectfully. 

"Worshipful sir/' he said, "we cannot tell you where 
the money is because we do not know. To be frank with 
you, nobody ever knew except myself. I took the stuff 
and sank it in the water in a narrow channel between two 
islands, and I made a little drawing of them on a piece of 
paper." 

"Exactly, my good friend, and where is that piece of 
paper?" 

"Alas! sir, when I was lighting the fuses on board the 
Swallow, I let it fall in my haste, and it is in exactly the 
same place as are all your worship's worthy comrades who 
were on board that ship. I believe, however, that if you 
will put yourself under my guidance I could show your 
Excellency the spot, and this, as I do not want to be killed, 
I should be most happy to do." 

"Good, simple man," said Ramiro with a little laugh, 
"how charming is the prospect that you paint of a mid- 
night row with you upon those lonely waters; the tarantula 



380 LYSBETH 

and the butterfly arm in arm ! Mynheer van Goorl, what 
have you to say?" 

" Only that the story told by Martin here is true. I do 
not know where the money is, as I was not present at its 
sinking, and the paper has been lost." 

"Indeed? I am afraid, then, that it will be necessary 
for me to refresh your memory, but, first, I have one more 
argument, or rather two. Has it struck you that another 
life may hang upon your answer ? As a rule men are loth 
to send their fathers to death." 

Foy heard, and terrible as was the hint, yet it came to 
him as a relief, for he had feared lest he was about to say 
" your mother " or " Elsa Brant." 

" That is my first argument, a good one, I think, but I 
have another which may appeal even more forcibly to a 
young man and prospective heir. The day before yester- 
day you became engaged to Elsa Brant don't look sur- 
prised; people in my position have long ears, and you 
needn't be frightened, the young lady will not be brought 
here; she is too valuable." 

" Be so good as to speak plainly," said Foy. 

"With pleasure. You see this girl is the heiress, is she 
not? and whether or no I find out the facts from you, 
sooner or later, in this way or that, she will doubtless dis- 
cover where her heritage is hidden. Well, that fortune a 
husband would have the advantage of sharing. I myself 
labour at present under no matrimonial engagements, and 
am in a position to obtain an introduction ah! my friend, 
are you beginning to see that there are more ways of killing 
a dog than by hanging him ? " 

Weak and wounded as he was, Foy's heart sank in him 
at the words of this man, this devil who had betrayed his 
mother with a mock marriage, and who was the father of 
Adrian. The idea of making the heiress his wife was one 
worthy of his evil ingenuity, and why should he not put it 



331 

into practice? Elsa, of course, would rebel, but Alva's 
officials in such days had means of overcoming any maidenly 
reluctance, or at least of forcing women to choose between 
death and degradation. "Was it not common for them even 
to dissolve marriages in order to give heretics to new hus- 
bands who desired their wealth? There was no justice 
left in the land ; human beings were the chattels and slaves 
of their oppressors. Oh God! what was there to do, except 
to trust in God ? Why should they be tortured, murdered, 
married against their wills, for the sake of a miserable pile 
of pelf? Why not tell the truth and let the fellow take 
the money ? He had measured up his man, and believed 
that he could drive a bargain with him. Kamiro wanted 
money, not lives. He was no fanatic; horrors gave him no 
pleasure; he cared nothing about his victims' souls. As he 
had betrayed his mother, Lysbeth, for cash, so he would 
be willing to let them all go for cash. Why not make the 
exchange ? 

Then distinct, formidable, overwhelming, the answer 
rose up in Foy's mind. Because he had sworn to his father 
that nothing which could be imagined should induce him to 
reveal this secret and betray this trust. And not only to 
his father, to Hendrik Brant also, who already had given 
his own life to keep his treasure out of the hands of the 
Spaniards, believing that in some unforeseen way it would 
advantage his own land and countrymen. No, great as was 
the temptation, he must keep the letter of his bond and 
pay its dreadful price. So again Foy answered, 

" It is useless to try to bribe me, for I do not know where 
the money is." 

"Very well, Heer Foy van Goorl, now we have a plain 
issue before us, but I will still try to protect you against 
yourself the warrant shall remain blank for a little while." 

Then he called aloud, " Sergeant, ask the Professor Bap- 
tiste to be so good as to step this way." 



CHAPTER XXI 

HOW MARTIN TURNED COWARD 

THE sergeant left the room and presently returned, fol- 
lowed by the Professor, a tall hang-dog looking rogue, clad 
in rusty black, with broad, horny hands, and nails bitten 
down to the quick. 

"Good morning to you, Professor," said Ramiro. 
"Here are two subjects for your gentle art. You will 
begin upon the big one, and from time to time report prog- 
ress, and be sure, if he becomes willing to reveal what I 
want to know never mind what it is, that is my affair 
come to summon me at once." 

" "What methods does your Excellency wish employed ? " 

" Man, I leave that to you. Am I a master of your filthy 
trade? Any method, provided it is effective." 

" I don't like the look of him," grumbled the Professor, 
gnawing at his short nails. " I have heard about this mad 
brute; he is capable of anything." 

' ' Then take the whole guard with you ; one naked wretch 
can't do much against eight armed men. And, listen; 
take the young gentleman also, and let him see what goes 
on; the experience may modify his views, but don't touch 
him without telling me. I have reports to write, and shall 
stop here." 

" I don't like the look of him," repeated the Professor. 
" I say that he makes me feel cold down the back he has 
the evil eye; I'd rather begin with the young one." 

"Begone and do what I tell you," said Ramiro, glaring 



SOW MARTIN TURNED COWARD 838 

at him fiercely. "Guard, attend upon the executioner 
Baptiste." 

" Bring them along/' grumbled the Professor. 

"No need for violence, worthy sir," muttered Martin; 
"show the way and we follow," and stooping down he 
lifted Foy from his chair. 

Then the procession started. First went Baptiste and 
four soldiers, next came Martin bearing Foy, and after 
them four more soldiers. They passed out of the court- 
room into the passage beneath the archway. Martin, shuf- 
fling along slowly, glanced down it and saw that on the 
wall, among some other weapons, hung his own sword, 
Silence. The big doors were locked and barred, but at the 
wicket by the side of them stood a sentry, whose office it 
was to let people in and out upon their lawful business. 
Making pretence to shift Foy in his arms, Martin scanned 
this wicket as narrowly as time would allow, and observed 
that it seemed to be secured by means of iron bolts at the 
top and the bottom, but that it was not locked, since the 
socket into which the tongue went was empty. Doubt- 
less, while he was on guard there, the porter did not think 
it necessary to go to the pains of using the great key that 
hung at his girdle. 

The sergeant in charge of the victims opened a low and 
massive door, which was almost exactly opposite to that of 
the court-room, by shooting back a bolt and pushing it 
ajar. Evidently the place beyond at some time or other 
had been used as a prison, which accounted for the bolt on 
the outside. A few seconds later they were locked into the 
torture-chamber of the Gevangenhuis, which was nothing 
more than a good-sized vault like that of a cellar, lit with 
lamps, for no light of day was suffered to enter here, and 
by a horrid little fire that flickered on the floor. The furni- 
tures of the place may be guessed at; those that are curious 
about such things can satisfy themselves by examining the 



834 LYSBETH 

mediaeval prisons at The Hague and elsewhere. Let us 
pass them over as unfit even for description, although these 
terrors, of which we scarcely like to speak to-day, were very 
familiar to the sight of our ancestors of but three centuries 
ago. 

Martin sat Foy down upon some terrible engine that 
roughly resembled a chair, and once more let his blue eyes 
wander about him. Amongst the various implements was 
one leaning against the wall, not very far from the door, 
which excited his especial interest. It was made for a 
dreadful purpose, but Martin reflected only that it seemed 
to be a stout bar of iron exactly suited to the breaking of 
anybody's head. 

" Come," sneered the Professor, " undress that big gen- 
tleman while I make ready his little bed." 

So the soldiers stripped Martin, nor did they assault him 
with sneers and insults, for they remembered the man's 
deeds of yesterday, and admired his strength and endur- 
ance, and the huge, muscular frame beneath their hands. 

" Now he is ready if you are," said the sergeant. 

The Professor rubbed his hands. 

" Come on, my little man," he said. 

Then Martin's nerve gave way, and he began to shiver 
and to shake. 

"Oho!" laughed the Professor, ''even in this stuffy 
place he is cold without his clothes; well, we must warm 
him we must warm him." 

" Who would have thought that a big fellow, who can 
fight well, too, was such a coward at heart," said the ser- 
geant of the guard to his companions. " After all, he will 
give no more play than a Ehine salmon." 

Martin heard the words, arid was seized with such an 
intense access of fear that he burst into a sweat all over his 
body. 

"I can't bear it," he said, covering his eyes which, 



HOW MARTIN TURNED COWARD 885 

however, he did not shut with his fingers. " The rack 
was always my nightmare, and now I see why. I'll tell all 
I know." 

"Oh! Martin, Martin," broke out Foy in a kind of 
wail, "I was doing my best to keep my own courage; I 
never dreamt that you would turn coward." 

"Every well has a bottom, master," whined Martin, 
"and mine is the rack. Forgive me, but I can't abide 
the sight of it." 

Foy stared at him open-mouthed. Could he believe his 
ears ? And if Martin was so horribly scared, why did his 
eye glint in that peculiar way between his fingers ? He 
had seen this light in it before, no later indeed than the 
last afternoon just as the soldiers tried to rush the stair. 
He gave up the problem as insoluble, but from that mo- 
ment he watched very narrowly. 

" Do you hear what this young lady says, Professor Bap- 
tiste?" said the sergeant. "She says" (imitating Mar- 
tin's whine) "that she'll tell all she knows." 

" Then the great cur might have saved me this trouble. 
Stop here with him. I must go and inform the Gov- 
ernor; those are my orders. No, no, you needn't give 
him his clothes yet that cloth is enough one can never 
be sure." 

Then he walked to the door and began to unlock it, as he 
went striking Martin in the face with the back of his hand, 
and saying, 

" Take that, cur." Whereat, as Foy observed, the 
cowed prisoner perspired more profusely than before, and 
shrank away towards the wall. 

God in Heaven ! What had happened ? The door of 
the torture den was opened, and suddenly, uttering the 
words, " To me, Foy!" Martin made a movement more 
quick than he could follow. Something flew up and fell 
with a fearful thud upon the executioner in the doorway. 



38fl LYSBETH 

The guard sprang forward, and a great bar of iron, hurled 
with awful force into their faces, swept two of them broken 
to the ground. Another instant, and one arm was about his 
middle, the next they were outside the door, Martin standing 
straddle-legged over the body of the dead Professor Baptiste. 

They were outside the door, but it was not shut, for now, 
on the other side of it six men were pushing with all their 
might and main. Martin dropped Foy. " Take his dag- 
ger and look out for the porter," he gasped as he hurled 
himself against the door. 

In a second Foy had drawn the weapon out of the belt of 
the dead man, and wheeled round. The porter from tho 
wicket was running on them sword in hand. Foy forgot 
that he was wounded for the moment his leg seemed sound 
again. He doubled himself up and sprang at the man like 
a wild-cat, as one springs who has the rack behind him. 
There was no fight, yet in that thrust the skill which Mar- 
tin had taught him so patiently served him well, for the 
sword of the Spaniard passed over his head, whereas Foy's 
long dagger went through the porter's throat. A glance 
showed Foy that from him there was nothing more to fear, 
so he turned. 

"Help if you can," groaned Martin, as well he might, 
for with his naked shoulder wedged against one of the cross 
pieces of the door he was striving to press it to so that the 
bolt could be shot into its socket. 

Heavens ! what a struggle was that. Martin's blue eyes 
seemed to be starting from his head, his tongue lolled out 
and the muscles of his body rose in great knots. Foy 
hopped to him and pushed as well as he was able. It was 
little that he could do standing upon one leg only, for now 
the sinews of the other had given way again; still that little 
made the difference, for let the soldiers on the further side 
strive as they might, slowly, very slowly, the thick door 
quivered to its frame. Martin glanced at the bolt, for he 




HE SPBANG AT THE MAN LIKE A ^VILD CAT. 



HOW MARTIN TURNED COWARD 337 

could not speak, and with his left hand Foy slowly worked 
it forward. It was stiff with disuse, it caught upon the 
edge of the socket. 

" Closer," he gasped. 

Martin made an effort so fierce that it was hideous to 
behold, for beneath the pressure the blood trickled from 
his nostrils, but the door went in the sixteenth of an inch 
and the rusty bolt creaked home into its stone notch. 

Martin stepped back, and for a moment stood swaying like 
a man about to fall. Then, recovering himself, he leapt 
at the sword Silence which hung upon the wall and passed 
its thong over his right wrist. Next he turned towards 
the door of the court-room. 

" Where are you going ? " asked Foy. 

"To bid him farewell," hissed Martin. 

"You're mad," said Foy; "let's fly while we can. 
That door may give they are shouting." 

"Perhaps you are right," answered Martin doubtfully. 
" Come. On to my back with you." 

A few seconds later the two soldiers on guard outside the 
Gevangenhuis were amazed to see a huge, red-bearded 
man, naked save for a loin-cloth, and waving a great bare 
sword, who carried upon his back another man, rush 
straight at them with a roar. They never waited his onset ; 
they were terrified and thought that he was a devil. This 
way and that they sprang, and the man with his burden 
passed between them over the little drawbridge down the 
street of the city, heading for the Morsch poort, 

Finding their wits, again the guards started in pursuit, 
but a voice from among the passers-by cried out: 

"It is Martin, Eed Martin, and Foy van Groorl, who 
escape from the Gevangenhuis," and instantly a stone flew 
towards the soldiers. 

Then, bearing in mind the fate of their comrades on the 
yesterday, those men scuttled back to the friendly shelter 
22 



338 LYSBETH 

of the prison gate. "When at length Ramiro, growing weary 
of waiting, came out from an inner chamber beyond the 
court-room, where he had been writing, to find the Pro- 
fessor and the porter dead in the passage, and the yelling 
guard locked in his own torture-chamber, why, then those 
sentries declared that they had seen nothing at all of pris- 
oners clothed or naked. 

For a while he believed them, and mighty was the hunt 
from the clock-tower of the Gevangenhuis down to the 
lowest stone of its cellars, yes, and even in the waters of 
the moat. But when the Governor found out the truth it 
went very ill with those soldiers, and still worse with the 
guard from whom Martin had escaped in the torture-room 
like an eel out of the hand of a fish-wife. For by this time 
Ramiro's temper was roused, and he began to think that 
after all he had done ill to return to Leyden. 

But he had still a card to play. In a certain room in 
the Gevangenhuis sat another victim. Compared to the 
dreadful dens where Foy and Martin had been confined this 
was quite a pleasant chamber upon the first floor, being 
reserved, indeed, for political prisoners of rank, or officers 
captured upon the field who were held to ransom. Thus 
it had a real window, secured, however, by a double set 
of iron bars, which overlooked the little inner courtyard 
and the gaol kitchen. Also it was furnished after a fash- 
ion, and was more or less clean. This prisoner was none 
other than Dirk van Goorl, who had been neatly captured 
as he returned towards his house after making certain ar- 
rangements for the flight of his family, and hurried away 
to the gaol. On that morning Dirk also had been put upon 
his trial before the squeaky-voiced and agitated ex-tailor. 
He also had been condemned to death, the method of his 
end, as in the case of Foy and Martin, being left in the 
hands of the Governor. Then they led him back to his 
room, and shot the bolts upon him there. 



SOW MARTIN TURNED COWARD 339 

Some hours later a man entered his cell, to the door of 
which he was escorted by soldiers, bringing him food and 
drink. He was one of the cooks and, as it chanced, a talka- 
tive fellow. 

" "What passes in the prison, friend ? " asked Dirk look- 
ing up, " that I see people running to and fro across the 
courtyard, and hear trampling and shouts in the passages ? 
Is the Prince of Orange coming, perchance, to set all of us 
poor prisoners free? " and he smiled sadly. 

"Umph!" grunted the man, " we have prisoners here 
who set themselves free without waiting for any Prince of 
Orange. Magicians they must be magicians and nothing 
less." 

Dirk's interest was excited. Putting his hand into his 
pocket he drew out a gold piece, which he gave to the man. 

" Friend," he said, " you cook my food, do you not, and 
look after me ? Well, I have a few of these about me, and 
if you prove kind they may as well find their way into your 
pocket as into those of your betters. Do you understand ? " 

The man nodded, took the money, and thanked him. 

" Now," went on Dirk, " while you clean the room, tell 
me about this escape, for small things amuse those who hear 
no tidings." 

"Well, Mynheer," answered the man, "this is the tale 
of it so far as I can gather. Yesterday they captured two 
fellows, heretics, I suppose, who made a good fight and did 
them much damage in a warehouse. I don't know their 
names, for I am a stranger to this town, but I saw them 
brought in; a young fellow, who seemed to be wounded in 
the leg and neck, and a great red -bearded giant of a man. 
They were put upon their trial this morning, and afterwards 
sent across, the two of them together, with eight men to 
guard them, to call upon the Professor you understand ? " 

Dirk nodded, for this Professor was well known in Ley- 
den. " And then ? " he asked. 



840 LYSBETH 

"And then? Why, Mother in Heaven! they came out, 
that's all the big man stripped and carrying the other on 
his back. Yes, they killed the Professor with the branding 
iron, and out they came like ripe peas from a pod." 

" Impossible ! " said Dirk. 

" Very well, perhaps you know better than I do; perhaps 
it is impossible also that they should have pushed the door 
to, let all those Spanish cocks inside do what they might, 
and bolted them in; perhaps it is impossible that they 
should have spitted the porter and got clean away through 
the outside guards, the big one still carrying the other 
upon his back. Perhaps all these things are impossible, 
but they're true nevertheless, and if you don't believe me, 
after they get away from the whipping-post, just ask the 
bridge guard why they ran so fast when they saw that 
great, naked, blue-eyed fellow come at them roaring like a 
lion, with his big sword flashing above his head. Oh! 
there's a pretty to-do, I can tell you, a pretty to-do, and in 
meal or malt we shall all pay the price of it, from the 
Governor down. Indeed, some backs are paying it now." 

" But, friend, were they not taken outside the gaol ? " 

"Taken? "Who was to take them when the rascally 
mob made them an escort five hundred strong as they went 
down the street? No, they are far away from Leyden 
now, you may swear to that. I must be going, but if 
there is anything you'd like while you're here just tell 
me, and as you are so liberal I'll try and see that you get 
what you want." 

As the bolts were shot home behind the man Dirk 
clasped his hands and almost laughed aloud with joy. So 
Martin was free and Foy was free, and until they could be 
taken again the secret of the treasure remained safe. Mont- 
alvo would never have it, of that he was sure. And as for 
his own fate ? Well, he cared little about it, especially as 
the Inquisitor had decreed that, being a man of so much 



SOW MARTIN TUNNED COWARD 341 

importance, he was not to be put to the " question." This 
order, however, was prompted, not by mercy, but by dis- 
cretion, since the fellow knew that, like other of the Hol- 
land towns, Leyden was on the verge of open revolt, and 
feared lest, should it leak out that one of the wealthiest 
and most respected of its burghers was actually being tor- 
mented for his faith's sake, the populace might step over 
the boundary line. 

When Adrian had seen the wounded Spanish soldiers and 
their bearers torn to pieces by the rabble, and had heard 
the great door of the Gevangenhuis close upon Foy and 
Martin, he turned to go home with his evil news. But for 
a long while the mob would not go home, and had it not 
been that the drawbridge over the moat in front of the 
prison was up, and that they had no means of crossing it, 
probably they would have attacked the building then and 
there. Presently, however, rain began to fall and they 
melted away, wondering, not too happily, whether, in that 
time of daily slaughter, the Duke of Alva would think a 
few common soldiers worth while making a stir about. 

Adrian entered the upper room to tell his tidings, since 
they must be told, and found it occupied by his mother 
alone. She was sitting straight upright in her chair, her 
hands resting upon her knees, staring out of the window 
with a face like marble. 

"I cannot find him," he began, "but Foy and Martin 
are taken after a great fight in which Foy was wounded. 
They are in the Gevangenhuis." 

"I know all," interrupted Lysbeth in a cold, heavy 
voice. " My husband is taken also. Someone must have 
betrayed them. May God reward him! Leave me, 
Adrian." 

Then Adrian turned and crept away to his own chamber, 
his heart so full of remorse and shame that at times he 



342 LYSBETH 

thought that it must burst. Weak as he was, wicked as he 
was, he had never intended this, but now, oh Heaven! his 
brother Foy and the man who had been his benefactor, 
whom his mother loved more than her life, were through 
him given over to a death worse than the mind could 
conceive. Somehow that night wore away, and of this 
we may be sure, that it did not go half as heavily with the 
victims in their dungeon as with the betrayer in his free 
comfort. Thrice during its dark hours, indeed, Adrian 
was on the point of destroying himself; once even he set 
the hilt of his sword upon the floor and its edge against 
his breast, and then at the prick of steel shrank back. 

Better would it have been for him, perhaps, could he 
have kept his courage ; at least he would have been spared 
much added shame and misery. 

So soon as Adrian had left her Lysbeth rose, robed her. 
self, and took her way to the house of her cousin, van de 
"Werff, now a successful citizen of middle age and the bur- 
gomaster-elect of Leyden. 

" You have heard the news ? " she said. 

"Alas! cousin, I have," he answered, "and it is very 
terrible. Is it true that this treasure of Hendrik Brant's is 
at the bottom of it all?" 

She nodded, and answered, " I believe so." 

" Then could they not bargain for their lives by surren- 
dering its secret?" 

" Perhaps. That is, Foy and Martin might Dirk does 
not know its whereabouts he refused to know, but they 
have sworn that they will die first.". 

"Why, cousin?" 

" Because they promised as much to Hendrik Brant, who 
believed that if his gold could be kept from the Spaniards 
it would do some mighty service to his country in time to 
come, and who has persuaded them all that is so." 



HO W MARTIN TURNED COWARD 343 

" Then God grant it may be true/' said van de Werff 
with a sigh, " for otherwise it is sad to think that more lives 
should be sacrificed for the sake of a heap of pelf." 

" I know it, cousin, but I come to you to save those lives." 

''How?" 

" How ? " she answered fiercely. " Why, by raising the 
town ; by attacking the Gevangenhuis and rescuing them ; 
by driving the Spaniards out of Leyden " 

" And thereby bringing upon ourselves the fate of Mons. 
"Would you see this place also given over to sack by the 
soldiers of Noircarmes and Don Frederic? " 

" I care not what I see so long as I save my son and my 
husband," she answered desperately. 

" There speaks the woman, not the patriot. It is better 
that three men should die than a whole city full." 

" That is a strange argument to find in your mouth, 
cousin, the argument of Caiaphas the Jew." 

"Nay, Lysbeth, be not wroth with me, for what can I 
say ? The Spanish troops in Leyden are not many, it is 
true, but more have been sent for from Haarlem and else- 
where after the troubles of yesterday arising out of the 
capture of Foy and Martin, and in forty-eight hours at the 
longest they will be here. This town is not provisioned for 
a siege, its citizens are not trained to arms, and we have 
little powder stored. Moreover, the city council is divided. 
For the killing of the Spanish soldiers we may compound, 
but if we attack the Gevangenhuis, that is open rebellion, 
and we shall bring the army of Don Frederic down upon 
us." 

" What matter, cousin ? It will come sooner or later." 

" Then let it come later, when we are more prepared to 
beat it off. Oh ! do not reproach me, for I can bear it ill, 
I who am working day and night to make ready for the 
hour of trial. I love your husband and your son, my heart 
bleeds for your sorrow and their doom, but at present I can 



344 LTSBITH 

do nothing, nothing. You must bear your burden, they 
must bear theirs, I must bear mine; we must all wander 
through the night not knowing where we wander till God 
causes the dawn to break, the dawn of freedom and retri- 
bution." 

Lysbeth made no answer, only she rose and stumbled 
from the house, while van de "Werff sat down groaning 
bitterly and praying for help and light. 



CHAPTER 

A MEETING AXD A PARTOTG 

LYSBETH did not sleep that night, for even if her misery 
would have let her sleep, she could not because of the phys- 
ical fire that burnt in her veins, and the strange pangs of 
agony which pierced her head. At first she thought little 
of them, but when at last the cold light of the autumn 
morning dawned she went to a mirror and examined her- 
self, and there upon her neck she found a hard red swelling of 
the size of a nut. Then Lysbeth knew that she had caught 
the plague from the Vronw Jansen, and laughed aloud, a 
dreary little laugh, since if all she loved were to die, it 
seemed to her good that she should die also. Elsa was abed 
prostrated with grief, and, shutting herself in her room, 
Lysbeth suffered none to come near her except one woman 
whom she knew had recovered from the plague in past 
years, but even to her she said nothing of her sickness. 

About eleven o'clock in the morning this woman rushed 
into her chamber crying, " They have escaped! They have 
escaped!" 

" Who ? " gasped Lysbeth, springing from her chair. 

" Your son Foy and Bed Martin," and she told the tale 
of how the naked man with the naked sword, carrying the 
wounded Foy upon his back, burst his way roaring from 
the Gevangenhuis, and, protected by the people, had run 
through the town and out of the Morsch poort, heading for 
the Haarlemer Meer. 

As she listened Lysbeth'e eyes flamed up with a fire of 
pride. 



348 LYSBETH 

"Oh! good and faithful servant," she murmured, "you 
have saved my son, but, alas! your master you could not 
save." 

Another hour passed, and the woman appeared again 
bearing a letter. 

" Who brought this ? " she asked. 

"A Spanish soldier, mistress." 

Then she cut the silk and read it. It was unsigned, and 
ran: 

" One in authority sends greetings to the Vrouw van 
Goorl. If the Vrouw van Goorl would save the life of the 
man who is dearest to her, she is prayed to veil herself and 
follow the bearer of this letter. For her own safety she 
need have no fear ; it is assured hereby. " 

Lysbeth thought awhile. This might be a trick ; very 
probably it was a trick to take her. Well, if so, what did 
it matter since she would rather die with her husband than 
live on without him; moreover, why should she turn aside 
from death, she in whose veins the plague was burning ? 
But there was another thing worse than that. She could 
guess who had penned this letter; it even seemed to her, 
after all these many years, that she recognised the writing, 
disguised though it was. Could she face him ! Well, why 
not for Dirk's sake ? 

And if she refused and Dirk was done to death, would 
she not reproach herself, if she lived to remember it, be- 
cause she had left a stone unturned ? 

"Give me my cloak and veil," she said to the woman, 
" and now go tell the man that I am coming." 

At the door she found the soldier, who saluted her, and 
said respectfully, "Follow me, lady, but at a little dis- 
tance." 

So they started, and through side streets Lysbeth was led 
to a back entrance of the Gevangenhuis, which opened and 
closed behind her mysteriously, leaving her wondering 



847 

whether she would ever pass that gate again. "Within a 
man was waiting she did not even notice what kind of 
man who also said, "Follow me, lady," and led her 
through gloomy passages and various doors into a little 
empty chamber furnished with a table and two chairs. 
Presently the door opened and shut ; then her whole being 
shrank and sickened as though beneath the breath of poison, 
for there before her, still the same, still handsome, although 
so marred by time and scars and evil, stood the man who 
had been her husband, Juan de Montalvo. But whatever 
she felt Lysbeth showed nothing of it in her face, which re- 
mained white and stern; moreover, even before she looked 
at him she was aware that he feared her more than she 
feared him. 

It was true, for from this woman's eyes went out a 
sword of terror that seemed to pierce Montalvo's heart. 
Back flew his mind to the scene of their betrothal, and the 
awful words that she had spoken then re-echoed in his 
ears. How strangely things had come round, for on that 
day, as on this, the stake at issue was the life of Dirk van 
Goorl. In the old times she had bought it, paying as its 
price herself, her fortune, and, worst of all, to a woman, 
her lover's scorn and wonder. What would she be pre- 
pared to pay now ? Well, fortunately, he need ask but 
little of her. And yet his soul mistrusted him of these 
bargainings with Lysbeth van Hout for the life of Dirk 
van Goorl. The first had ended ill with a sentence of four- 
teen years in the galleys, most of which he had served. 
How would the second end ? 

By way of answer there seemed to rise before the eye of 
Montalvo's mind a measureless black gulf, and, falling, 
falling, falling through its infinite depths one miserable 
figure, a mere tiny point that served to show the vastness 
it explored. The point turned over, and he saw its face as 
in a crystal it was his own. 



348 LYSBETH 

This unpleasant nightmare of the imagination came in 
an instant, and in an instant passed. The next Montalvo, 
courteous and composed, was bowing before his visitor and 
praying her to be seated. 

" It is most good of you, Vrouw van Goorl," he began, 
" to have responded so promptly to my invitation." 

"Perhaps, Count de Montalvo," she replied, "you will 
do me the favour to set out your business in as few words 
as possible." 

"Most certainly; that is my desire. Let me free your 
mind of apprehension. The past has mingled memories 
for both of us, some of them bitter, some, let me hope, 
sweet," and he laid his hand upon his heart and sighed. 
" But it is a dead past, so, dear lady, let us agree to bury 
it in a fitting silence." 

Lysbeth made no answer, only her mouth grew a trifle 
more stern. 

" Now, one word more, and I will come to the point. 
Let me congratulate you upon the gallant deeds of a gal- 
lant son. Of course his courage and dexterity, with that 
of the red giant, Martin, have told against myself, have, in 
short, lost me a trick in the game. But I am an old sol- 
dier, and I can assure you that the details of their fight 
yesterday at the factory, and of their marvellous escape 
from from well, painful surroundings this morning, 
have stirred my blood and made my heart beat fast." 

" I have heard the tale; do not trouble to repeat it," said 
Lysbeth. " It is only what I expected of them, but I 
thank God that it has pleased Him to let them live on so 
that in due course they may fearfully avenge a beloved 
father and master." 

Montalvo coughed and turned his head with the idea 
of avoiding that ghastly nightmare of a pitiful little man 
falling down a fathomless gulf which had sprung up sud- 
denly in his mind again. 



A MEETING AND A PARTING 349 

"Well," he went on, "a truce to compliments. They 
escaped, and I am glad of it, whatever murders they may 
contemplate in the future. Yes, notwithstanding their 
great crimes and manslayings in the past I am glad that 
they escaped, although it was my duty to keep them while 
I could aud if I should catch them it will be my duty 
but I needn't talk of that to you. Of course, however, you 
know there is one gentleman who was not quite so fortu- 
nate." 

" My husband ? " 

" Yes, your worthy husband, who, happily for my repu- 
tation as captain of one of His Majesty's prisons, occupies 
an upstairs room." 

" What of him ? " asked Lysbeth. 

"Dear lady, don't be over anxious; there is nothing so 
wearing as anxiety. I was coming to the matter." Then, 
with a sudden change of manner, he added, " It is needful, 
Lysbeth, that I should set out the situation." 

" What situation do you mean ? " 

" Well, principally that of the treasure." 

" What treasure ?" 

" Oh! woman, do not waste time in trying to fool me. 
The treasure, the vast, the incalculable treasure of Hendrik 
Brant which Foy van G-oorl and Martin, who have es- 
caped " and he ground his teeth together at the anguish 
of the thought " disposed of somewhere in the Haar- 
lemer Meer." 

" Well, what about this treasure ? " 

"I want it, that is all." 

" Then you had best go to seek it." 

" That is my intention, and I shall begin to search in 
the heart of Dirk van Goorl," he added, slowly crushing 
the handkerchief he held with his long fingers as though it 
were a living thing that could be choked to death. 

Lysbeth never stirred, she had expected this. 



360 LYSBETH 

" You will find it a poor mine to dig in," she said, " for 
he knows nothing of the whereabouts of this money. No- 
body knows anything of it now. Martin hid it, as I under- 
stand, and lost the paper, so it will lie there till the Haar- 
lemer Meer is drained." 

"Dear me! Do you know I have heard that story be- 
fore; yes, from the excellent Martin himself and, do you 
know, I don't quite believe it." 

" I cannot help what you believe or do not believe. You 
may remember that it was always my habit to speak the 
truth." 

" Quite so, but others may be less conscientious. See 
here," and drawing a paper from his doublet, he held it 
before her. It was nothing less than the death-warrant 
of Dirk van Goorl, signed by the Inquisitor, duly author- 
ised thereto. 

Mechanically she read it and understood. 

"You will observe," he went on, "that the method of 
the criminal's execution is left to the good wisdom of our 
well-beloved etc., in plain language, to me. Now might 
I trouble you so far as to look out of this little window ? 
What do you see in front of you ? A kitchen ? Quite so; 
always a homely and pleasant sight in the eyes of an excel- 
lent housewife like yourself. And do you mind bending 
forward a little? "What do you see up there? A small 
barred window ? Well, let us suppose, for the sake of argu- 
ment, that a hungry man, a man who grows hungrier and 
hungrier, sat behind that window watching the cooks at 
their work and seeing the meat carried into this kitchen, to 
come out an hour or two later as hot, steaming, savoury 
joints, while he wasted, wasted, wasted, and starved, 
starved, starved. Don't you think, my dear lady, that this 
would be a very unpleasant experience for that man ? " 

" Are you a devil? " gasped Lysbeth, springing back. 

"I have never regarded myself as such, but if you seek 



A JlHH TING AND A PARTING 361 

a definition, I should say that I am a hard-working, neces- 
sitous, and somewhat unfortunate gentleman who has been 
driven to rough methods in order to secure a comfortable 
old age. I can assure you that I do not wish to starve 
anybody; I wish only to find Hendrik Brant's treasure, 
and if your worthy husband won't tell me where it is, why 
I must make him, that is all. In six or eight days under 
my treatment I am convinced that he will become quite 
fluent on the subject, for there is nothing that should 
cause a fat burgher, accustomed to good living, to open his 
heart more than a total lack of the victuals which he can 
see and smell. Did you ever hear the story of an ancient 
gentleman called Tantalus ? These old fables have a won- 
derful way of adapting themselves to the needs and circum- 
stances of us moderns, haven't they? " 

Then Lysbeth's pride broke down, and, in the abandon- 
ment of her despair, flinging herself upon her knees before 
this monster, she begged for her husband's life, begged, in 
the name of God, yes, and even in the name of Montalvo's 
son, Adrian. So low had her misery brought her that she 
pleaded with the man by the son of shame whom she had 
borne to him. 

He prayed her to rise. " I want to save your husband's 
life," he said. "I give you my word that if only he will 
tell me what I desire to know, I will save it; yes, although 
the risk is great, I will even manage his escape, and I shall 
ask you to go upstairs presently and explain my amiable 
intentions to him." Then he thought a moment and 
added, " But you mentioned one Adrian. Pray do you 
mean the gentleman whose signature appears here?" and 
he handed her another document, saying, " Read it quietly, 
there is no hurry. The good Dirk is not starving yet; I 
am informed, indeed, that he has just made an excellent 
breakfast not his last by many thousands, let us hope." 

Lysbeth took the sheets and glanced at them. Then her 



352 LYSBETH 

intelligence awoke, and she read on fiercely until her eye 
came to the well-known signature at the foot of the last 
page. She cast the roll down with a cry as though a ser- 
pent had sprung from its pages and bitten her. 

" I fear that you are pained," said Montalvo sympathet- 
ically, "and no wonder, for myself I have gone through 
such disillusionments, and know how they wound a gener- 
ous nature. That's why I showed you this document, 
because I also am generous and wish to warn you against 
this young gentleman, who, I understand, you allege is my 
son. You see the person who would betray his brother 
might even go a step further and betray his mother, so, if 
you take my advice, you will keep an eye upon the young 
man. Also I am bound to remind you that it is more or 
less your own fault. It is a most unlucky thing to curse a 
child before it is born you remember the incident? That 
curse has come home to roost with a vengeance. What 
a warning against giving way to the passion of the 
moment! " 

Lysbeth heeded him no longer; she was thinking as she 
had never thought before. At that moment, as though by 
an inspiration, there floated into her mind the words of the 
dead Vrouw Jansen: "The plague, I wish that I had 
caught it before, for then I would have taken it to him in 
prison, and they couldn't have treated him as they did." 
Dirk was in prison, and Dirk was to be starved to death, 
for, whatever Montalvo might think, he did not know the 
secret, and, therefore, could not tell it. And she she had 
the plague on her; she knew its symptoms well, and its 
poison was burning in her every vein, although she still 
could think and speak and walk. 

Well, why not? It would be no crime. Indeed, if it 
was a crime, she cared little; it would be better that he 
should die of the plague in five days, or perhaps in two, if 
it worked quickly, as it often did with the full-blooded, 



A MEETING AND A PARTING 853 

than that he should linger on starving for twelve or more, 
and perhaps be tormented besides. 

Swiftly, very swiftly, Lysbeth came to her dreadful 
decision. Then she spoke in a hoarse voice. 

" What do you wish me to do ? " 

" I wish you to reason with your husband, and to per- 
suade him to cease from his obstinacy, and to surrender to 
me the secret of the hiding-place of Brant's hoard. In 
that event, so soon as I have proved the truth of what he 
tells me, I undertake that he shall be set at liberty un- 
harmed, and that, meanwhile, he shall be well treated." 

" And if I will not, or he will not, or cannot ? " 

" Then I. have told you the alternative, and to show you 
that I am not joking, I will now write and sign the order. 
Then, if you decline this mission, or if it is fruitless, I will 
hand it to the officer before your eyes and within the next 
ten days or so let you know the results, or witness them if 
you wish." 

" I will go," she said, " but I must see him alone." 

" It is unusual," he answered, " but provided you satisfy 
me that you carry no weapon, I do not know that I need 
object." 

So, when Montalvo had written his order and scattered 
dust on it from the pounce-box, for he was a man of neat 
and methodical habits, he himself with every possible cour- 
tesy conducted Lysbeth to her husband's prison. Having 
ushered her into it, with a cheerful "Friend van Goorl, I 
bring you a visitor," he locked the door upon them, and 
patiently waited outside. 

It matters not what passed within. Whether Lysbeth 
told her husband of her dread yet sacred purpose, or did 
not tell him; whether he ever learned of the perfidy of 
Adrian, or did not learn it; what were their parting words 
their parting prayers, all these things matter not; indeed, 
the last are too holy to be written. Let us bow our heads 
23 



851 LTSBETH 

and pass them by in silence, and let the reader imagine 
them as he will. 

Growing impatient at length, Montalvo unlocked the 
prison door and opened it, to discover Lysbeth and her 
husband kneeling side by side in the centre of the room 
like tho figures on some ancient marble monument. They 
heard him and rose. Then Dirk folded his wife in his 
arms in a long, last embrace, and, loosing her, held one 
hand above her head in blessing, as with the other he 
pointed to the door. 

So infinitely pathetic was this dumb show of farewell, for 
no word passed between them while he was present, that 
not only his barbed gibes, but the questions that he meant 
to ask, died upon the lips of Montalvo. Try as he might he 
could not speak them here. 

" Come," he said, and Lysbeth passed out. 

At the door she turned to look, and there, in the centre 
of the room, still stood her husband, tears streaming from 
his eyes, down a face radiant with an unearthly smile, and 
his right hand lifted towards the heavens. And so she left 
him. 

Presently Montalvo and Lysbeth were together again in 
the little room. 

" I fear," he said, " from what I saw just now, that your 
mission has failed." 

"It has failed," she answered in such a voice as might 
be dragged by an evil magic from the lips of a corpse. 
" He does not know the secret you seek, and, therefore, he 
cannot tell it." 

" I am sorry that I cannot believe you," said Montalvo, 
"so" and he stretched his hand towards a bell upon the 
table. 

" Stop," she said; " for your own sake stop. Man, will 




A LONG, LAST EMBRACE. 



A MEETING AND A PARTING 355 

you really commit this awful, this useless crime ? Think 
of the reckoning that must be paid here and hereafter; 
think of me, the woman you dishonoured, standing before 
the Judgment Seat of God, and bearing witness against 
your naked, shivering soul. Think of him, the good and 
harmless man whom you are about cruelly to butcher, cry- 
ing in the ear of Christ, ' Look upon Juan de Montalvo, 
my pitiless murderer ' " 

" Silence," shouted Montalvo, yet shrinking back against 
the wall as though to avoid a sword-thrust. "Silence, 
you ill-omened witch, with your talk of God and judg- 
ment. It is too late, I tell you, it is too late; my hands 
are too red with blood, my heart is too black with sin, 
upon the tablets of my mind is written too long a rec- 
ord. What more can this one crime matter, and do you 
understand ? I must have money, money to buy my pleas- 
ures, money to make my last years happy, and my death- 
bed soft. I have suffered enough, I have toiled enough, 
and I will win wealth and peace who am now once more 
a beggar. Yes, had you twenty husbands, I would crush 
the life out of all of them inch by inch to win the gold that 
I desire." 

As he spoke and the passions in him broke through their 
crust of cunning and reserve, his face changed. Now 
Lysbeth, w.vtching for some sign of pity, knew that hope 
was dead, for his countenance was as it had been on that 
day six-and-twenty years ago, when she sat at his side while 
the great race was run. There was the same starting eye- 
ball, the same shining fangs appeared between the curled 
lips, and above them the moustachios, now grown grey, 
touched the high cheekbones. It was as in the fable of 
the weremen, who, at a magic sign or word, put off their 
human aspect and become beasts. So it had chanced to 
the spirit of Montalvo, shining through his flesh like some 
baleful marsh-light through the mist. It was a thing which 



356 LYSBETH 

God had forgotten, a thing that had burst the kindly mould 
of its humanity, and wrapt itself in the robe and mask of 
such a wolf as might raven about the cliffs of hell. Only 
there was fear on t4ie face of the wolf, that inhuman face 
which, this side of the grave, she was yet destined to see 
once more. 

The fit passed, and Montalvo sank down gasping, while 
even in her woe and agony Lysbeth shuddered at this naked 
vision of a Satan-haunted soul. 

"I have one more thing to ask," she said. " Since my 
husband must die, suffer that I die with him. Will you 
refuse this also, and cause the cup of your crimes to flow 
over, and the last angel of God's mercy to flee away ? " 

" Yes," he answered. " You, woman with the evil eye, 
do you suppose that I wish you here to bring all the ills 
you prate of upon my head ? I say that I am afraid of 
you. Why, for your sake, once, years ago, I made a vow 
to the Blessed Virgin that, whatever I worked on men, I 
would never again lift a hand against a woman. To that 
oath I look to help me at the last, for I have kept it 
sacredly, and am keeping it now, else by this time both you 
and the girl, Elsa, might have been stretched upon the 
rack. No, Lysbeth, get you gone, and take your curses 
with you," and he snatched and rang the bell. 

A soldier entered the room, saluted, and asked his com- 
mands. 

" Take this order," he said, " to the officer in charge of 
the heretic, Dirk van Goorl; it details the method of his 
execution. Let it be strictly adhered to, and report made 
to me each morning of the condition of the prisoner. Stay, 
show this lady from the prison." 

The man saluted again and went out of the door. After 
him followed Lysbeth. She spoke no more, but as she 
passed she looked at Montalvo, and he knew well that 
though she might be gone, yet her curee remained behind. 



A MEETING AND A PARTING 357 

The plague was on her, the plague was on her, her head 
and bones were racked with pain, and the swords of sorrow 
pierced her poor heart. But Lysbeth's mind was still clear, 
and her limbs still supported her. She reached her home 
and walked upstairs to the sitting room, commanding the 
servant to find the Heer Adrian and bid him join her 
there. 

In the room was Elsa, who ran to her crying, 

" Is it true? Is it true?" 

"It is true, daughter, that Foy and Martin have 
escaped " 

"Oh! God is good! " wept the girl. 

"And that my husband is a prisoner and condemned to 
death." 

" Ah! " gasped Elsa, " I am selfish." 

"It is natural that a woman should think first of the 
man she loves. No, do not come near me; I fear that I am 
stricken with the pest." 

" I am not afraid of that," answered Elsa. " Did I 
never tell you ? As a child I had it in The Hague." 

" That, at least, is good news among much that is very 
ill; but be silent, here comes Adrian, to whom I wish to 
speak. Nay, you need not leave us; it is best that you 
should learn the truth." 

Presently Adrian entered, and Elsa, watching everything, 
noticed that he looked sadly changed and ill. 

"You sent for me, mother," he began, with some 
attempt at his old pompous air. Then he caught sight of 
her face and was silent. 

"I have been to the Gevangenhuis, Adrian," she said, 
" and I have news to tell you. As you may have heard, 
your brother Foy and our servant Martin have escaped, I 
know not whither. They escaped out of the very jaws of 
worse than death, out of the torture-chamber, indeed, by 
killing that wretch who was known as the Professor, and 



a;,s LYSBETH 

the warden of the gate, Martin carrying Foy, who is 
wounded, upon his back." 

" I am indeed rejoiced," cried Adrian excitedly. 

"Hypocrite, be silent," hissed his mother, and he knew 
that the worst had overtaken him. 

" My husband, your stepfather, has not escaped; he is in 
the prison still, for there I have just bidden him farewell, 
and the sentence upon him is that he shall be starved to 
death in a cell overlooking the kitchen." 

" Oh! oh! " cried Elsa, and Adrian groaned. 

" It was my good, or my evil, fortune," went on Lysbeth, 
in a voice of ice, " to see the written evidence upon which 
my husband, your brother Foy, and Martin were con- 
demned to death, on the grounds of heresy, rebellion, and 
the killing of the king's servants. At the foot of it, duly 
witnessed, stands the signature of Adrian van Goorl." 

Elsa's jaw fell. She stared at the traitor like one para- 
lysed, while Adrian, seizing the back of a chair, rested 
upon it, and rocked his body to and fro. 

" Have you anything to say ? " asked Lysbeth. 

There was still one chance for the wretched man had he 
been more dishonest than he was. He might have denied 
all knowledge of the signature. But to do this never 
occurred to him. Instead, he plunged into a wandering, 
scarcely intelligible, explanation, for even in his dreadful 
plight his vanity would not permit him to tell all the truth 
before Elsa. Moreover, in that fearful silence, soon he 
became utterly bewildered, till at length he hardly knew 
what he was saying, and in the end came to a full stop. 

" I understand you to admit that you signed this paper 
in the house of Hague Simon, and in the presence of a man 
called Ramiro, he who is Governor of the prison, and who 
showed it to me," said Lysbeth, lifting her head which had 
*nnk upon her breast. 

" Yes, mother, I signed something, but " 



A MEETING AND A PARTING 859 

"I wish to hear no more/' interrupted Lysbeth. 
" Whether your motive was jealousy, or greed, or wicked- 
ness of heart, or fear, you signed that which, had you been 
a man, you would have suffered yourself to be torn to pieces 
with redhot pincers before you put a pen to it. Moreover, 
you gave your evidence fully and freely, for I have read it, 
and supported it with the severed finger of the woman Meg 
which you stole from Toy's room. You are the murderer 
of your benefactor and of your mother's heart, and the 
would-be murderer of your brother and of Martin Koos. 
When you were born, the mad wife, Martha, who nursed 
me, counselled that you should be put to death, lest you 
should live to bring evil upon me and mine. I refused, 
and you have brought the evil upon us all, but most, I 
think, upon your own soul. I do not curse you, I call 
down no ill upon you; Adrian, I give you over into the 
hands of God to deal with as He sees fit. Here is money " 
and, going to her desk, she took from it a heavy purse of 
gold which had been prepared for their flight, and thrust 
it into the pocket of his doublet, wiping her fingers upon 
her kerchief after she had touched him. " Go hence and 
never let me see your face again. You were born of my 
body, you are my flesh and blood, but for this world and 
the next I renounce you, Adrian. Bastard, I know you 
not. Murderer, get you gone." 

Adrian fell upon the ground; he grovelled before his 
mother trying to kiss the hem of her dress, while Elsa 
sobbed aloud hysterically. But Lysbeth spurned him in 
the face with her foot, saying, 

" Get you gone before I call up such servants as are left 
to me to thrust you to the street." 

Then Adrian rose and with great gasps of agony, like 
some sore-wounded thing, crept from that awful and majes- 
tic presence of outraged motherhood, crept down the stairs 
and away into the city. 



860 LYSBETH 

When he had gone Lysbeth took pen and paper and 
wrote in large letters these words: 

"Notice to all the good citizens of Leyden. Adrian, 
called van Goorl, upon whose written evidence his step- 
father, Dirk van Goorl, his half-brother, Foy van Goorl, 
and the serving-man, Martin Roos, have been condemned 
to death in the Gevangenhuis by torment, starvation, water, 
fire, and sword, is known here no longer. Lysbeth van 
Goorl." 

Then she called a servant and gave orders that this paper 
should be nailed upon the front door of the house where 
every passer-by might read it. 

"It is done," she said. "Cease weeping, Elsa, and 
lead me to my bed, whence I pray God that I may never rise 
again." 

Two days went by, and a fugitive rode into the city, a 
worn and wounded man of Leyden, with horror stamped 
upon his face. 

"What news?" cried the people in the market-place, 
recognising him. 

"Mechlin! Mechlin!" he gasped. " I come from Mech- 
lin." 

"What of Mechlin and its citizens ?" asked Pieter van 
de Werff, stepping forward. 

" Don Frederic has taken it; the Spaniards have butch- 
ered them; everyone, old and young, men, women, and chil- 
dren, they are all butchered. I escaped, but for two leagues 
and more I heard the sound of the death-wail of Mechlin. 
Give me wine." 

They gave him wine, and by slow degrees, in broken sen- 
tences, he told the tale of one of the most awful crimes that 
ever was committed in the name of Christ by cruel man 
against God and his own fellows. It is written large in 
history ; we need not repeat it here. 



A MEETING AND A PARTING 861 

Then, when they knew the truth, up from that multi- 
tude of the men of Leyden went a roar of wrath, and a cry 
to vengeance for their slaughtered kin. They took arms, 
each what he had, the burgher his sword, the fisherman his 
fish-spear, the boor his ox-goad or his pick ; leaders sprang 
up to command them, and there arose a shout of "To the 
gates! To the Gevangenhuis ! Free the prisoners! " 

They surged round the hateful place, thousands of them. 
The drawbridge was up, but they bridged the moat. Some 
shots were fired at them, then the defence ceased. They 
battered in the massive doors, and, when these fell, rushed 
to the dens and loosed those who remained alive within 
them. 

But they found no Spaniards, for by now Ramiro and 
his garrison had vanished away, whither they knew not. 
A voice cried, " Dirk van Goorl, seek for Dirk van Goorl," 
and they came to the chamber overlooking the courtyard, 
shouting, " Van Goorl, we are here! " 

They broke in the door, and there they found him, lying 
upon his pallet, his hands clasped, his face upturned, smit- 
ten suddenly dead, not by man, but by the poison of the 
plague. 

Unfed and untended, the end had overtaken him very 
swiftly. 



Boofc tbe Cbirfc 
THE HARVESTING 



fcoofe tbe 
THE HARVESTING 

CHAPTER XXIII 

FATHER AND SON 

WHEN Adrian left his mother's house in the Bree Straat 
he wandered away at hazard, for so utterly miserable was 
he that he could form no plans as to what he was to do or 
whither he should go. Presently he found himself at the 
foot of that great mound which in Leyden is still known as 
the Burg, a strange place with a circular wall upon the top 
of it, said to have been constructed by the Eomans. Up 
this mound he climbed, and throwing himself upon the 
grass under an oak which grew in one of the little recesses 
of those ancient walls, he buried his face in his hands and 
tried to think. 

Think! How could he think? Whenever he shut his 
eyes there arose before them a vision of his mother's face, 
a face so fearful in its awesome and unnatural calm that 
vaguely he wondered how' he, the outcast son, upon whom 
it had been turned like the stare of the Medusa's head, 
withering his very soul, could have seen it and still live. 
Why did he live ? Why was he not dead, he who had a 
sword at his side ? Was it because of his innocence ? He 
was not guilty of this dreadful crime. He had never in- 
tended to hand over Dirk van Goorl and Foy and Martin 
to the Inquisition. He had only talked about them to a 
man whom he believed to be a professor of judicial astrol- 



366 LYSBETH 

ogy, and who said that he could compound draughts which 
would bend the wills of women. Could he help it if this 
fellow was really an officer of the Blood Council ? Of 
course not. But, oh ! why had he talked so much ? Oh ! 
why had he signed that paper, why did he not let them 
kill him first ? He had signed, and explain as he would, 
he could never look an honest man in the face again, and 
less still a woman, if she knew the truth. So he was not 
still alive because he was innocent, since for all the good 
that this very doubtful innocence of his was likely to be 
even to his own conscience, he might almost as well have 
been guilty. Nor was he alive because he feared to die. 
He did fear to die horribly, but to the young and impres- 
sionable, at any rate, there are situations in which death 
seems the lesser of two evils. That situation had been 
well-nigh reached by him last night when he set the hilt of 
his sword against the floor and shrank back at the prick of 
its point. To-day it was overpast. 

No, he lived on because before he died he had a hate to 
satisfy, a revenge to work. He would kill this dog, Ramiro, 
who had tricked him with his crystal gazing and his talk 
of friendship, who had frightened him with the threat of 
death until he became like some poor girl and for fear 
signed away his honour oh, Heaven! for very fear, he 
who prided himself upon his noble Spanish blood, the blood 
of warriors this treacherous dog, who, having used him, 
had not hesitated to betray his shame to her from whom 
most of all it should have been hidden, and, for aught he 
knew, to the others also. Yes, if ever he met him his 
own brother Foy would spit upon him in the street; Foy, 
who was so hatefully open and honest, who could not under- 
stand into what degradation a man's nerves may drag him. 
And Martin, who had always mistrusted and despised him, 
why, if he found the chance, he would tear him limb from 
limb as a kite tears a partridge. And, worse still, Dirk 



FATHER AND SON 367 

van Goorl, the man who had befriended him, who had bred 
him up although he was no son of his, but the child of some 
rival, he would sit there in his prison cell, and while his face 
fell in and his bones grew daily plainer, till at length his 
portly presence was as that of a living skeleton, he would sit 
there by the window, watching the dishes of savoury food 
pass in and out beneath him, and between the pangs of his 
long-drawn, hideous agony, put up his prayer to God to 
pay back to him, Adrian, all the woe that he had caused. 

Oh ! it was too much. Under the crushing weight of his 
suffering, his senses left him, and he found such peace as 
to-day is won by those who are about to pass beneath the 
surgeon's knife ; the peace that but too often wakes to a 
livelier agony. 

"When Adrian came to himself again, he felt cold, for 
already the autumn evening had begun to fall, and there 
was a feel in the clear, still air as of approaching frost. 
Also he was hungry (Dirk van Goorl, too, must be growing 
hungry now, he remembered), for he had eaten nothing 
since the yesterday. He would go into the town, get food, 
and then make up his mind what he should do. 

Accordingly, descending from the Burg, Adrian went to 
the best inn in Leyden, and, seating himself at a table under 
the trees that grew outside of it, bade the waiting-man 
bring him food and beer. Unconsciously, for he was think- 
ing of other things, in speaking to him, Adrian had assumed 
the haughty, Spanish hidalgo manner that was customary 
with him when addressing his inferiors. Even then he 
noticed, with the indignation of one who dwells upon his 
dignity, that this server made him no bow, but merely 
called his order to someone in the house, and, turning his 
back upon him, began to speak to a man who was loitering 
near. Soon Adrian became aware that he was the subject 
of that conversation, for the two of them looked at him 
out of the corners ol their eyes, and jerked their thumbs 



368 L7SBETH 

towards him. Moreover, first one, then two, then quite 
a number of passers-by stopped aiid joined in the conver- 
sation, which appeared to interest them very much. Boys 
came also, a dozen or more of them, and women of the fish- 
wife stamp, and all of these looked at him out of the cor- 
ners of their eyes, and from time to time jerked their 
thumbs towards him. Adrian began to feel uneasy and 
angered, but, drawing down his bonnet, and folding his 
arms upon his breast, he took no notice. Presently the 
server thrust his meal and flagon of beer before him with 
such clattering clumsiness that some of the liquor splashed 
over upon the table. 

" Be more careful, and wipe that up," said Adrian. 

" Wipe it yourself," answered the man, rudely turning 
upon his heel. 

Now Adrian was minded to be gone, but he was hungry 
and thirsty, so first, thought he, he would satisfy himself. 
Accordingly he lifted the tankard and took a long pull at 
it, when suddenly something struck the bottom of the 
vessel, jerking liquor over his face and doublet. He set it 
down with an oath, and laying his hand upon his sword 
hilt asked who had done this. But the mob, which by 
now numbered fifty or sixty, and was gathered about him 
in a triple circle, made .no answer. They stood there star- 
ing sullenly, and in the fading light their faces seemed 
dangerous and hostile. 

He was frightened. What could they mean? Yes, he 
was frightened, but he determined to brave it out, and 
lifted the cover from his meat, when something passed over 
his shoulder and fell into the dish, something stinking and 
abominable to be particular, a dead cat. This was too 
much. Adrian sprang to his feet, and asked who dared 
thus to foul his food. The crowd did not jeer, did not 
even mock; it seemed too much in earnest for gibes, but 
a voice at the back called out : 



FATHER AND SON 869 

"Take it to Dirk van Goorl. He'll be glad of it 
soon." 

Now Adrian understood. All these people knew of his 
infamy; the whole of Leyden knew that tale. His lips 
turned dry, and the sweat broke out upon his body. What 
should he do ? Brave it out ? He sat down, and the fierce 
ring of silent faces drew a pace or two nearer. He tried to 
bid the man to bring more meat, but the words stuck in 
his throat. Now the mob saw his fear, and of a sudden 
seemed to augur his guilt from it, and to pass sentence on 
him in their hearts. At least, they who had been so dumb 
broke out into yells and hoots. 

"Traitor!" "Spanish spy!" "Murderer!" they 
screamed. " Who gave evidence against our Dirk ? Who 
sold his brother to the rack ? " 

Then came another shriller note. "Kill him." "Hang 
him up by the heels and stone him." "Twist off his 
tongue," and so forth. Out shot a hand, a long, skinny, 
female hand, and a harsh voice cried, " Give us a keepsake, 
my pretty boy!" Then there was a sharp wrench at his 
head, and he knew that from it a lock of hair was missing. 
This was too much. He ought to have stopped there and 
let them kill him if they would, but a terror of these 
human wolves entered his soul and mastered him. To be 
trodden beneath those mire-stained feet, to be rent by those 
filthy hands, to be swung up living by the ankles to some 
pole and then carved piecemeal he could not bear it. He 
drew his sword and turned to fly. 

" Stop him," yelled the mob, whereon he lunged at them 
wildly, running a small boy through the arm. 

The sight of blood and the screech of the wounded lad 
settled the question, and those who were foremost came at 
him with a spring. But Adrian was swifter than they, and 
before a hand could be laid upon him, amidst a shower of 
stones and filth, he was speeding down the street. After 
24 



870 L7SBETH 

him came the mob, and then began one of the finest man- 
hunts that was ever known in Leyden. 

From one street to another, round this turn and round 
that, sped the quarry, and after him, a swiftly growing 
pack, came the hounds. Some women drew a washing-line 
across the street to trip him. Adrian jumped it like a 
deer. Four men got ahead and tried to cut him off. He 
dodged them. Down the Bree Straat he went, and on his 
mother's door he saw a paper and guessed what was written 
there. They were gaining, they were gaining, for always 
fresh ones took the place of those who grew weary. There 
was but one chance for him now. Near by ran the Rhine, 
and here it was wide and unbridged. Perhaps they would 
not follow him through the water. In he went, having no 
choice, and swam for his life. They threw stones and bits 
of wood at him, and called for bows but, luckily for him, 
by now the night was falling fast, so that soon he vanished 
from their sight, and heard them crying to each other that 
he was drowned. 

But Adrian was not drowned, for at that moment he was 
dragging himself painfully through the deep, greasy mud 
of the opposing bank and hiding among the old boats and 
lumber which were piled there, till his breath came to him 
again. But he could not stay long, for even if he had not 
been afraid that they would come and find him, it was too 
cold. So he crept away into the darkness. 

Half an hour later, as, resting from their daily labours, 
Hague Simon and his consort Meg were seated at their 
evening meal, a knock came at the door, causing them to 
drop their knives and to look at each other suspiciously. 

"Who can it be ? " marvelled Meg. 

Simon shook his fat head. "I have no appointment," 
he murmured, "and I don't like strange visitors. There's 
a nasty spirit abroad in the town, a very nasty spirit." 




AFTKK HIM CAME THE MOB. 



FATHER AND SON 871 

"Go and see," said Meg. 

" Go and see yourself, you " and he added an epithet 

calculated to auger the meekest woman. 

She answered it with an oath and a metal plate, which 
struck him in the face, but before the quarrel could go far- 
ther, again came the sound of raps, this time louder and 
more hurried. Then Black Meg went to open the door, 
while Simon took a knife and hid himself behind a cur- 
tain. After some whispering, Meg bade the visitor enter, 
and ushered him into the room, that same fateful room 
where the evidence was signed. Now he was in the light, 
and she saw him. 

" Oh ! come here," she gasped. " Simon, come and look 
at our little grandee." So Simon came, whereon the pair 
of them, clapping their hands to their ribs, burst into 
screams of laughter. 

"It's the Don! Mother of Heaven! it is the Don," 
gurgled Simon. 

Well might they laugh, they who had known Adrian in 
his pride and rich attire, for before them, crouching against 
the wall, was a miserable, bareheaded object, his hair 
stained with mud and rotten eggs, blood running from his 
temple where a stone had caught him, his garments a mass 
of filth and dripping water, one boot gone and his hose 
burst to tatters. For a while the fugitive bore it, then sud- 
denly, without a word, he drew the sword that still remained 
to him and rushed at the bestial looking Simon, who 
skipped away round the table. 

"Stop laughing," he said, "or I will put this through 
you. I am a desperate man. " 

" You look it," said Simon, but he laughed no more, for 
the joke had become risky. "What do you want, Heer 
Adrian?" 

" I want food and lodging for so long as I please to stop 
here. Don't be afraid, I have money to pay you." 



872 LYSBETH 

" I am thinking that you are a dangerous guest," broke 
in Meg. 

" I am," replied Adrian; " but I tell you that I shall be 
more dangerous outside. I was not the only one concerned 
in that matter of the evidence, and if they get me they 
will have you too. You understand? " 

Meg nodded. She understood perfectly; for those of her 
trade Leyden was growing a risky habitation. 

"We will accommodate you with our best, Mynheer," 
she said. " Come upstairs to the Master's room and put 
on some of his clothes. They will fit you well; you are 
much of the same figure." 

Adrian's breath caught in his throat. 

" Is he here ? " he asked. 

" No, but he keeps his room." 

" Is he coming back ? " 

" I suppose so, sometime, as he keeps his room. Do you 
want to see him?" 

" Very much, but you needn't mention it; my business 
can wait till we meet. Get my clothes washed and dried 
as quickly as you can, will you? I don't care about wearing 
other men's garments." 

A quarter of an hour later Adrian, cleaned and clothed, 
different indeed to look on from the torn and hunted fugi- 
tive, re-entered the sitting-room. As he came, clad in 
Ramiro's suit, Meg nudged her husband and whispered, 
"Like, ain't they?" 

" Like as two devils in hell," Simon answered critically, 
then added, "Your food is ready; come, Mynheer, and 
eat." 

So Adrian ate and drank heartily enough, for the meat 
and wine were good, and he needed them. Also it rejoiced 
him in a dull way to find that there was something left in 
which he could take pleasure, even if it were but eating 
and drinking. When he had finished he told his story, or 



FATHER AND SON 878 

so much of it as he wished to tell, and afterwards went to 
bed wondering whether his hosts would murder him in his 
sleep for the purse of gold he carried, half hoping that they 
might indeed, and slept for twelve hours without stir- 
ring. 

All that day and until the evening of the next Adrian sat 
in the home of his spy hosts recovering his strength and 
brooding over his fearful fall. Black Meg brought in news 
of what passed without; thus he learned that his mother 
had sickened with the plague, and that the sentence of 
starvation was being carried out upon the body of her hus- 
band, Dirk van Goorl. He learned also the details of the 
escape of Foy and Martin, which were the talk of all the 
city. In the eyes of the common people they had become 
heroes, and some local poet had made a song about them 
which men were singing in the streets. Two verses of that 
song were devoted to him, Adrian; indeed Black Meg 
repeated them to him word by word with a suppressed but 
malignant joy. Yes, this was what had happened; his 
brother had become a popular hero and he, Adrian, who in 
every way was so infinitely that brother's superior, an 
object of popular execration. And of all this the man, 
Ramiro, was the cause. 

Well, he was waiting for Eamiro. That was why he 
risked his life by staying in Leyden. Sooner or later 
Ramiro would be bound to visit this haunt of his, and then 
here Adrian drew his rapier and lunged and parried, and 
finally with hissing breath drove it down into the wood of 
the flooring, picturing, in a kind of luxury of the imagina- 
tion, that the throat of Ramiro was between its point and 
the ground. Of course in the struggle that must come, 
the said Ramiro, who doubtless was a skilful swordsman, 
might get the upper hand; it might be his, Adrian's throat, 
which was between the point and the ground. Well, if so, 
it scarcely mattered; he did not care. At any rate, for this 



374 LYSBETH 

once he would play the man and then let the devil take his 
own; himself, or Ramiro, or both of them. 

On the afternoon of the second day Adrian heard shout- 
ing in the streets, and Hague Simon came in and told him 
that a man had arrived with bad news from Mechlin; what 
it was he could not say, he was going to find out. A couple 
of hours went by and there was more shouting, this time 
of a determined and ordered nature. Then Black Meg 
appeared and informed him that the news from Mechlin 
was that everyone in that unhappy town had been mas- 
sacred by the Spaniards; that further the people of Ley den 
had risen and were marching to attack the Gevangenhuis. 
Out she hurried again, for when the waters were stormy 
then Black Meg must go afishing. 

Another hour went by, and once more the street door 
was opened with a key, to be carefully shut when the 
visitor had entered. 

Simon or Meg, thought Adrian, but as he could not be 
sure he took the precaution of hiding himself behind the 
curtain. The door of the room opened, and not Meg or 
Simon, but Ramiro entered. So his opportunity had come! 

The Master seemed disturbed. He sat down upon a 
chair and wiped his brow with a silk handkerchief. Then 
aloud, and shaking his fist in the air, he uttered a most 
comprehensive curse upon everybody and everything, but 
especially upon the citizens of Leyden. After this once 
more he lapsed into silence, sitting, his one eye fixed upon 
vacancy, and twisting his waxed moustaches with his hand. 

Now was Adrian's chance; he had only to step out from 
behind the curtain and run him through before he could 
rise from his seat. The plan had great charms, and doubt- 
less he might have put it into execution had not Adrian's 
histrionic instincts stayed his hand. If he killed Ramiro 
thus, he would never know why he had been killed, and 
above all things Adrian desired that he should know. He 



FATHER AND SON 375 

wanted not only to wreak his wrongs, but to let his adver- 
sary learn why they were wreaked. Also, to do him justice, 
he preferred a fair fight to a secret stab delivered from 
behind, for gentlemen fought, but assassins stabbed. 

Still, as there were no witnesses, he might have been 
willing to waive this point, if only he could make sure that 
Ramiro should learn the truth before he died. He thought 
of springing out and wounding him, and then, after he had 
explained matters, finishing him off at his leisure. But 
how could he be sure of his sword-thrust, which might do 
too much or too little ? No, come what would, the matter 
must be concluded in the proper fashion. 

Choosing his opportunity, Adrian stepped from behind 
the hanging and placed himself between Ramiro and the 
door, the bolt of which he shot adroitly that no one might 
interrupt their interview. At the sound Ramiro started 
and looked up. In an instant he grasped the situation, 
and though his bronzed face paled, for he knew that his 
danger was great, rose to it, as might have been expected 
from a gentleman of his long and varied experience. 

"The Heer Adrian called van Goorl, as I live!" he 
said. "My friend and pupil, I am glad to see you; but, 
if I might ask, although the times are rough, why in this 
narrow room do you wave about a naked rapier in that dan- 
gerous fashion? " 

" Villain," answered Adrian, "you know why; you have 
betrayed me and mine, and I am dishonoured, and now I 
am going to kill you in payment." 

"I see," said Ramiro, "the van Goorl affair again. I 
can never be clear of it for half an hour even. Well, before 
you begin, it may interest you to know that your worthy 
stepfather, after a couple of days' fasting, is by now, I sup- 
pose, free, for the rabble have stormed the Gevangenhuis. 
Truth, however, compels me to add that he is suffering 
badly from the plague, which your excellent mother, with 



876 LYSBETH 

a resource that does her credit, managed to communicate 
to him, thinking this end less disagreeable on the whole 
than that which the law had appointed." 

Thus spoke Ramiro, slowly and with purpose, for all the 
while he was so manoeuvring that the light from the lattice 
fell full upon his antagonist, leaving himself in the shadow, 
a position which experience taught him would prove of 
advantage in emergency. 

Adrian made no answer, but lifted his sword. 

"One moment, young gentleman," went on Ramiro, 
drawing his own weapon and putting himself on guard; 
" are you in earnest ? Do you really wish to fight ? " 

" Yes/' answered Adrian. 

" What a fool you must be," mused Ramiro. " Why at 
your age should you seek to be rid of life, seeing that you 
have no more chance against me than a rat in a corner 
against a terrier dog? Look !" and suddenly he lunged 
most viciously straight at his heart. But Adrian was 
watching and parried the thrust. 

" Ah! " continued Ramiro, " I knew you would do that, 
otherwise I should not have let fly, for all the angels know 
I do not wish to hurt you." But to himself he added, 
" The lad is more dangerous than I thought my life hangs 
on it. The old fault, friend, too high, too high! " 

Then Adrian came at him like a tiger, and for the next 
thirty seconds nothing was heard in the room but the rasp- 
ings of steel and the hard breathing of the two men. 

At first Adrian had somewhat the better of it, for his 
assault was fierce, and he forced the older and cooler man 
to be satisfied with guarding himself. He did more indeed, 
for presently thrusting over Ramiro's guard, he wounded 
him slightly in the left arm. The sting of his hurt seemed 
to stir Ramiro's blood; at any rate Tie changed his tactics 
and began to attack in turn. Now, moreover, his skill and 
seasoned strength came to his aid; slowly but surely Adrian 



FATHER AND SON 377 

was driven back before him till his retreat in the narrow 
confines of the room became continuous. Suddenly, half 
from exhaustion and half because of a stumble, he reeled 
right across it, to the further wall indeed. With a guttural 
sound of triumph Kamiro sprang after him to make an end 
of him while his guard was down, caught his foot on a 
joined stool which had been overset in the struggle, and 
fell prone to the ground. 

This was Adrian's chance. In an instant he was on him 
and had the point of his rapier at his throat. But he did 
not stab at once, not from any compunction, but because 
he wished his enemy to feel a little before he died, for, like 
all his race, Adrian could be vindictive and bloodthirsty 
enough when his hate was roused. Eapidly Eamiro con- 
sidered the position. In a physical sense he was helpless, 
for Adrian had one foot upon his breast, the other upon 
his sword-arm, and the steel at his throat. Therefore if 
time were given him he must trust to his wit. 

" Make ready, you are about to die," said Adrian. 

" I think not," replied the prostrate Eamiro. 

"Why not?" asked Adrian, astonished. 

"If you will be so kind as to move that sword-point a 
little it is pricking me thank you. Now I will tell you 
why. Because it is not usual for a son to stick his father 
as though he were a farmyard pig." 

" Son ? Father ? " said Adrian. " Do you mean ? " 

"Yes, I do mean that we have the happiness of filling 
those sacred relationships to each other." 

" You lie," said Adrian. 

"Let me stand up, and give me my sword, young sir, 
and you shall pay for that. Never yet did a man tell the 
Count Juan de Moutalvo that he lied, and live." 

" Prove it," said Adrian. 

"In this position, to which misfortune, not skill, has 
reduced me, I can prove nothing. But if you doubt it, ask 



378 LYSBETH 

your mother, or your hosts, or consult the registers of the 
Groote Kerke, and see whether on a date, which I will give 
you, Juan de Montalvo was, or was not, married to Lysbeth 
van Hout, of which marriage was born one Adrian. Man, 
I will prove it to you. Had I not been your father, would 
you have been saved from the Inquisition with others, and 
should I not within the last five minutes have run you 
through twice over, for though you fought well, your 
swordsmanship is no match for mine ? " 

" Even if you are my father, why should I not kill you, 
who have forced me to your will by threats of death, you 
who wronged and shamed me, you because of whom I have 
been hunted through the streets like a mad dog, and made 
an outcast?" And Adrian looked so fierce, and brought 
down his sword so close, that hope sank very low in 
Ramiro's heart. 

" There are reasons which might occur to the religious," 
he eaid, " but I will give you one that will appeal to your 
self-interest. If you kill me, the curse which follows the 
parricide will follow you to your last hour of the beyond 
I say nothing." 

"It would need to be a heavy one," answered Adrian, 
" if it was worse than that of which I know." But there 
was hesitation iu his voice, for Ramiro, the skilful player 
upon human hearts, had struck the right string, and 
Adrian's superstitious nature answered to the note. 

" Son," went on Ramiro, " be wise and hold your hand 
before you do that for which all hell itself would cry shame 
upon you. You think that I have been your enemy, but 
it is not so; all this while I have striven to work you good, 
but how can I talk lying thus like a calf before its butcher ? 
Take the swords, both of them, and let me sit up, and I 
will tell you all my plans for the advantage of us both. Or 
if you wish it, thrust on and make an end. I will not plead 
for my life with you; it is not worthy of an hidalgo of 



FATHER AND SON 879 

Spain. Moreover, what is life to me who have known so 
many sorrows that I should seek to cling to it? Oh! God, 
who seest all, receive my soul, and I pray Thee pardon this 
youth his horrible crime, for he is mad and foolish, and 
will live to sorrow for the deed." 

Since it was no further use to him, Ramiro had let the 
sword fall from his hand. Drawing it towards him with 
the point of his own weapon, Adrian stooped and picked 
it up. 

"Kise," he said, lifting his foot, "I can kill you after- 
wards if I wish." 

Could he have looked into the heart of his new-found 
parent as stiff and aching he staggered to his feet, the 
execution would not have been long delayed. 

"Oh! my young friend, you have given me a nasty 
fright," thought Eamiro to himself, " but it is over now, 
and if I don't pay you out before I have done with you, my 
sweet boy, your name is not Adrian." 

Ramiro rose, dusted his garments, seated himself deliber- 
ately, and began to talk with great earnestness. It will be 
sufficient to summarise !iis arguments. First of all, with 
the most convincing sincerity, he explained that when he 
had made use of him, Adrian, he had no idea that he was 
his son. Of course this was a statement that will not bear 
a moment's examination, but Ramiro's object was to gain 
time, and Adrian let it pass. Then he explained that it 
was only after his mother had, not by his wish, but acci- 
dentally, seen the written evidence upon which her hus- 
band was convicted, that he found out that Adrian van 
Goorl was her child and his own. However, as he hurried 
to point out, all these things were now ancient history that 
had no bearing on the present. Owing to the turbulent 
violence of the mob, which had just driven him from his 
post and fortress, he, Ramiro, was in temporary difficulties, 
and owing to other circumstances, he, Adrian, was, so far 



880 LYSBETH 

as his own party and people were concerned, an absolutely 
dishonoured person. In this state of affairs he had a sug- 
gestion to make. Let them join forces; let the natural 
relationship that existed between them, and which had 
been so nearly severed by a sword thrust that both must 
have regretted, become real and tender. He, the father, 
had rank, although it suited him to sink it; he had wide 
experience, friends, intelligence, and the prospect of enor- 
mous wealth, which, of course, he could not expect to enjoy 
for ever. On the other side, he, the son, had youth, great 
beauty of person, agreeable and distinguished manners, a 
high heart, the education of a young man of the world, 
ambition and powers of mind that would carry him far, and 
for the immediate future an object to gain, the affection of 
a lady whom all acknowledged to be as good as she was 
charming, and as charming as she was personally attractive. 

" She hates me," broke in Adrian. 

"Ah!" laughed Ramiro, "there speaks the voice of 
small experience. Oh! youth, so easily exalted and so 
easily depressed! Joyous, chequered youth! How many 
happy marriages have I not known begin with such hate as 
this? Well, there it is, you must take my word for it. If 
you want to marry Elsa Brant, I can manage it for you, 
and if not, why, you can leave it alone." 

Adrian reflected, then as his mind had a practical side, 
he put a question. 

"You spoke of the prospect of enormous wealth; what 
is it?" 

"I will tell you, I will tell you," whispered his parent, 
looking about him cautiously; "it is the vast hoard of 
Hendrik Brant which I intend to recover; indeed, my 
search for it has been at the root of all this trouble. And 
now, son, you can see how open I have been with you, for 
if you marry Elsa that money will legally be your property, 
and I can only claim whatever it may please you to give 



FATHER AND SON 881 

me. Well, as to that question, in the spirit of the glorious 
motto of our race, 'Trust to God and me,' I shall leave 
it to your sense of honour, which, whatever its troubles, 
has never yet failed the house of Montalvo. What does 
it matter to me who is the legal owner of the stuff, so long 
as it remains in the family ? " 

" Of course not," replied Adrian, loftily, "especially as 
I am not mercenary." 

"Ah! well," went on Eamiro, "we have talked for a 
long while, and if I continue to live there are affairs to 
which I ought to attend. You have heard all I have to 
say, and you have the swords in your hand, and, of course, 
I am only your prisoner on parole. So now, my son, be 
so good as to settle this matter without further delay. 
Only, if you make up your mind to use the steel, allow me 
to show you where to thrust, as I do not wish to undergo 
any unnecessary discomfort ' ' and he stood before him 
and bowed in a very courtly and dignified fashion. 

Adrian looked at him and hesitated. "I don't trust 
you," he said; "you have tricked me once and I daresay 
that you will trick me again. Also I don't think much of 
people who masquerade under false names and lay such 
traps as you laid to get my evidence against the rest of 
them. But I am in a bad place and without friends. I 
want to marry Elsa and recover my position in the world; 
also, as you know well, I can't cut the throat of my own 
father in cold blood," and he threw down one of the 
swords. 

" Your decision is just such as I should have expected 
from my knowledge of your noble nature, son Adrian," re- 
marked Ramiro as he picked up his weapon and restored it to 
the scabbard. " But now, before we enter upon this perfect 
accord, I have two little stipulations to make on my side." 

" What are they ? " asked Adrian. 

" First, that our friendship should be complete, suoh as 



883 LYSBETH 

ought to exist between a loving father and son, a friend- 
ship without reservations. Secondly this is a condition 
that I fear you may find harder but, although fortune has 
led me into stony paths, and I fear some doubtful expedi- 
ents, there was always one thing which I have striven to 
cherish and keep pure, and that in turn has rewarded me 
for my devotion in many a dangerous hour, my religious 
belief. Now I am Catholic, and I could wish that my son 
should be Catholic also; these horrible errors, believe me, 
are as dangerous to the soul as just now they happen to be 
fatal to the body. May I hope that you, who were brought 
up but not born in heresy, will consent to receive instruc- 
tion in the right faith ? " 

"Certainly you may," answered Adrian, almost with 
enthusiasm. "I have had enough of conventicles, psalm- 
singing, and the daily chance of being burned; indeed, 
from the time when I could think for myself I always 
wished to be a Catholic." 

" Your words make me a happy man," answered Eamiro. 
" Allow me to unbolt the door, I hear our hosts. Worthy 
Simon and Vrouw, I make you parties to a solemn and joy- 
ful celebration. This young man is my sou, and in token 
of my fatherly love, which he has been pleased to desire, 
I now take him in my arms and embrace him before you," 
and he suited the action to the word. 

But Black Meg, watching his face in astonishment from 
over Adrian's shoulder, saw its one bright eye suddenly 
become eclipsed. Could it be that the noble Master had 
winked ? 



CHAPTER XXIV 

MARTHA PREACHES A SERMON AND TELLS A SECRET 

Two days after his reconciliation with his father, Adrian 
was admitted a member of the Catholic Church. His 
preparation had been short; indeed, it consisted of three 
interviews with a priest who was brought to the house at 
night. The good man found in his pupil so excellent a 
disposition and a mind so open to his teaching that, acting 
on a hint given him by Ramiro, who, for reasons of his 
own not altogether connected with religion, was really anx- 
ious to see his son a member of the true and Catholic 
Church, he declared it unnecessary to prolong the period 
of probation. Therefore, on the third day, as the dusk of 
evening was closing, for in the present state of public feel- 
ing they dared not go out while it was light, Adrian was 
taken to the baptistery of the Groote Kerke. Here he 
made confession of his sins to a certain Abbe known as 
Father Dominic, a simple ceremony, for although the list 
of them which he had prepared was long, its hearing 
proved short. Thus all his offences against his family, 
such as his betrayal of his stepfather, were waived aside by 
the priest as matters of no account; indeed, crimes of this 
nature, he discovered, to the sacerdotal eye wore the face of 
virtue. Other misdoings also, such as a young man might 
have upon his mind, were not thought weighty. What 
really was considered important proved to be the earnest- 
ness of his recantation of heretical errors, and when once 
his confessor was satisfied upon that point, the penitent 
soul was relieved by absolution full and free. 

After this came the service of his baptism, which, be- 



884 LYSBETS. 

cause Rnmiro wished it, for a certain secret reason, was 
carried out with as much formal publicity as the circum- 
stances would allow. Indeed, several priests assisted at the 
rite, Adrian's sponsors being his father and the estimable 
Hague Simon, who was paid a gold piece for his pains. 
"While the sacrament was still in progress, an untoward in- 
cident occurred. From its commencement the trampling 
and voices of a mob had been heard in the open space in front 
of the church, and now they began to hammer on the great 
doors and to cast stones at the painted windows, breaking 
the beautiful and ancient glass. Presently a beadle hurried 
into the baptistery, and whispered something in the ear of 
the Abbe which caused that ecclesiastic to turn pale and to 
conclude the service in a somewhat hasty fashion. 

" What is it ? " asked Ramiro. 

"Alas! my son," said the priest, "these heretic dogs 
saw you, or our new-found brother, I know not which 
enter this holy place, and a great mob of them have sur- 
rounded it, ravening for our blood." 

" Then we had best begone," said Ramiro. 

" Senor, it is impossible," broke in the sacristan; " they 
watch every door. Hark! hark! hark!" and as he spoke 
there came the sound of battering on the oaken portals. 

"Can your reverences make any suggestion?" asked 
Ramiro, " for if not " and he shrugged his shoulders. 

" Let us pray," said one of them in a trembling voice. 

" By all means, but I should prefer to do so as I go. 
Fool, is there any hiding-place in this church, or must we 
stop here to have our throats cut ? " 

Then the sacristan, with white lips and knocking knees, 
whispered : 

" Follow me, all of you. Stay, blow out the lights." 

So the candles were extinguished, and in the darkness 
they grasped each other's hands and were led by the verger 
whither they knew not. Across the wide spaces of the 



MARTHA PREACHES A SERMON 385 

empty church they crawled, its echoing silence contrasting 
strangely with the muffled roar of angry voices without and 
the dull sound of battering on the doors. One of their 
number, the fat Abbe Dominic, became separated from 
them in the gloom, and wandered away down an arm of 
the vast transept, whence they could hear him calling to 
them. The sacristan called back, but Eamiro fiercely bade 
him to be silent, adding: 

" Are we all to be snared for the sake of one priest ? " 

So they went on, till presently in that great place his 
shouts grew fainter, and were lost in the roar of the multi- 
tude without. 

" Here is the spot," muttered the sacristan, after feeling 
the flooring with his hands, and by a dim ray of moon- 
light which just then pierced the windows of the choir, 
Adrian saw that there was a hole in the pavement before him. 

"Descend, there are steps," said their guide. "I will 
shut the stone," and one by one they passed down six or 
seven narrow steps into some darksome place. 

"Where are we?" asked a priest of the verger, when 
he had pulled the stone close and joined them. 

" In the family vault of the noble Count van Valkenburg, 
whom your reverence buried three days ago. Fortunately 
the masons have not yet come to cement down the stone. 
If your Excellencies find it close, you can get air by stand- 
ing upon the coffin of the noble Count." 

Adrian did find it close, and took the hint, to discover 
that in a line with his head was some filigree stonework, 
pierced with small apertures, the front doubtless of the 
marble tomb in the church above, for through them he 
could see the pale moon rays wavering on the pavement of 
the choir. As he looked the priest at his side muttered: 

"Hark! The doors are down. Aid us, St. Pancras!" 
and falling upon his knees he began to pray very earnestly. 

Yielding at last to the blows of the battering-beam, the 
25 



386 LYSBETE 

great portals had flown open with a crash, and now through 
them poured the mob. On they came with a rush and a 
roar, like that of the sea breaking through a dyke, carrying 
in their hands torches, lanterns hung on poles, axes, swords 
and staves, till at length they reached the screen of wonder- 
ful carved oak, on the top of which, rising to a height of 
sixty feet above the floor of the church, stood the great 
Eood, with the images of the Virgin and St. John on either 
side. Here, of a sudden, the vastness and the silence 
of the holy place which they had known, every one, from 
childhood, with its echoing aisles, the moonlit, pictured 
windows, its consecrated lamps twinkling here and there 
like fisher lights upon the darkling waters, seemed to take 
hold of them. As at the sound of the Voice Divine sweep- 
ing down the wild waves at night, the winds ceased their 
raving and the seas were still, so now, beneath the silent 
reproach of the effigy of the White Christ standing with 
uplifted hand above the altar, hanging thorn-crowned upon 
the Kood, kneeling agonised within the Garden, seated at 
the Holy Supper, on His lips the New Commandment, 
" As I have loved you, so ye also love one another," their 
passions flickered down and their wrath slept. 

" They are not here, let us be going," said a voice. 

"They are here," answered another voice, a woman's 
voice with a note of vengeance in it. "I tracked them to 
the doors, the Spanish murderer Ramiro, the spy Hague 
Simon, the traitor Adrian, called van Goorl, and the 
priests, the priests, the priests who butcher us." 

"Let God deal with them," said the first voice, which 
to Adrian sounded familiar. "We have done enough. 
Go home in peace." 

Now muttering, " The pastor is right. Obey the Pastor 
Arentz," the more orderly of the multitude turned to 
depart, when suddenly, from the far end of the transept, 
arose a cry. 



MARTHA PREACHES A SERMON 387 

"Here's one of them. Catch him! catch him!" A 
minute more and into the circle of the torchlight rushed 
the Abbe Dominic, his eyes starting from his head with 
terror, his rent robe flapping on the ground. Exhausted 
and bewildered he cast himself down, and grasping the 
pedestal of an image began to cry for mercy, till a dozen 
fierce hands dragged him to his feet again. 

"Let him go," said the voice of the Pastor Arentz. 
" We fight the Church, not its ministers." 

"Hear me first," she answered who had spoken before, 
and men turned to see standing above them in the great 
pulpit of the church, a fierce-eyed, yellow-toothed hag, 
grey-haired, skinny-armed, long-faced like a horse, and 
behind her two other women, each of whom held a torch 
in her right hand. 

" It is the Mare," roared the multibude. " It is Martha 
of the Mere. Preach on, Martha. "What's your 
text?" 

" Whoso sheddeth man's blood by man shall his blood be 
shed," she answered in a ringing, solemn voice, and in- 
stantly a deep silence fell upon the place. 

" You call me the Mare," she went on. " Do you know 
how I got that name ? They gave it me after they had 
shrivelled up my lips and marred the beauty of my face 
with irons. And do you know what they made me do? 
They made me carry my husband to the stake upon my 
back because they said that a horse must be ridden. And 
do you know who said this? That priest who stands 
before you." 

As the words left her lips a yell of rage beat against the 
roof. Martha held up her thin hand, and again there was 
silence. 

" He said it the holy Father Dominic; let him deny it 
if he can. What? He does not know me? Perchance 
not, for time and grief and madness and hot pincers have 



388 LYSBETH 

changed the face of Vrouw Martha van Muyden, who was 
called the Lily of Brussels. Ah! look at him now. He 
remembers the Lily of Brussels. He remembers her hus- 
band and her son also, for he burned them. God, judge 
between us. people, deal with that devil as God shall 
teach you. 

" Who are the others ? He who is called Karniro, the 
Governor of the Gevangenhuis, the man who years ago 
would have thrust me beneath the ice to drown had not 
the Vrouw van Goorl bought my life; he who set her hus- 
band, Dirk van Goorl, the man you loved, to starve to 
death sniffing the steam of kitchens. people, deal with 
that devil as God shall teach you. 

"And the third, the half-Spaniard, the traitor Adrian 
called van Goorl, he who has come here to-night to be 
baptised anew into the bosom of the Holy Church ; he who 
signed the evidence upon which Dirk was murdered " 
here, again, the roar of hate and rage went up and beat 
along the roof "upon which too his brother Foy was 
taken to the torture, whence Eed Martin saved him. 
people, do with that devil also as God shall teach you. 

"And the fourth, Hague Simon the spy, the man whose 
hands for years have smoked with innocent blood ; Simon 
the Butcher Simon the false witness " 

"Enough, enough!" roared the crowd. "A rope, a 
rope; up with him to the arm of the Rood." 

"My friends," cried Arentz, "let the man go. 'Ven- 
geance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will repay. ' ' 

"Yes, but we will give him something on account," 
shouted a voice in bitter blasphemy. " Well climbed, Jan, 
well climbed," and they looked up to see, sixty feet above 
their heads, seated upon the arm of the lofty Rood, a man 
with a candle bound upon his brow and a coil of rope upon 
his back. 

"He'll fall," said one. 




AH! LOOK AT HIM NOW." 



MARTHA PREACHES A SERMON 389 

" Pish! " answered another, " it is steeplejack Jan, who 
can hang on a wall like a fly." 

''Look out for the ends of the rope," cried the thin 
voice above, and down they came. 

" Spare me," screamed the Avretched priest, as his execu- 
tioners caught hold of him. 

" Yes, yes, as you spared the Heer Jansen a few months 
ago." 

" It was to save his soul," groaned Dominic. 

"Quite so, and now we are going to save yours; your 
own medicine, father, your own medicine." 

" Spare me, and I will tell you where the others are." 

"Well, where are they?" asked the ringleader, pushing 
his companions away. 

" Hidden in the church, hidden in the church." 

" We knew that, you traitorous dog. Now then for the 
soul-saving. Catch hold there and run away with it. A 
horse should be ridden, father your own saying and an 
angel must learn to fly." 

Thus ended the life of the Abbe Dominic at the hands 
of avenging men. Without a doubt they were fierce and 
bloody-minded, for the reader must not suppose that all the 
wickedness of those days lies on the heads of the Inquisition 
and the Spaniards. The adherents of the New Religion did 
evil things also, things that sound dreadful in our ears. In 
excuse of them, however, this can be urged, that, compared 
to those of their oppressors, they were as single trees to a 
forest full ; also that they who worked them had been mad- 
dened by their sufferings. If our fathers, husbands and 
brothers had been burned at the stake, or done to death 
under the name of Jesus in the dens of the Inquisition, or 
slaughtered by thousands in the sack of towns; if our wives 
and daughters had been shamed, if our houses had been 
burned, our goods taken, our liberties trampled upon, and 
our homes made a desolation, then, my reader, is it not 



390 LYSBETH 

possible that even in these different days you and I might 
have been cruel when our hour came ? God knows alone, 
and God be thanked that so far as we can foresee, except 
under the pressure, perhaps, of invasion by semi-barbarian 
hordes, or of dreadful and sudden social revolutions, civil- 
ized human nature will never be put to such a test again. 

Far aloft in the gloom there, swinging from the arm of 
the Cross, whose teachings his life had mocked, like some 
mutinous sailor at the yard of the vessel he had striven to 
betray, the priest hung dead, but his life did not appease 
the fury of the triumphant mob. 

"The others," they cried, "find the others," and with 
torches and lanterns they hunted round the great church. 
They ascended the belfry, they rummaged the chapels, they 
explored the crypt; then, baffled, drew together in a count- 
less crowd in the nave, shouting, gesticulating, suggesting. 

" Get dogs," cried a voice; " dogs will smell them out; " 
and dogs were brought, which yapped and ran to and fro, 
but, confused by the multitude, and not knowing what to 
seek, found nothing. Then some one threw an image from 
a niche, and next minute, with a cry of " Down with the 
idols," the work of destruction began. 

Fanatics sprang at the screens and the altars, "all the 
carved work thereof they break down with hatchet and 
hammer," they tore the hangings from the shrines, they 
found the sacred cups, and filling them with sacramental 
wine, drank with gusts of ribald laughter. In the centre 
of the choir they built a bonfire, and fed it with pictures, 
carvings, and oaken benches, so that it blazed and roared 
furiously. On to it for this mob did not come to steal 
but to work vengeance they threw utensils of gold and 
silver, the priceless jewelled offerings of generations, and 
danced around its flames in triumph, while from every side 
came the crash of falling statues and the tinkling of shat- 
tered glass. 



MARTHA PREACHES A SERMON 391 

The light of that furnace shone through the lattice stone- 
work of the tomb, and in its lurid and ominous glare Adrian 
beheld the faces of those who refuged with him. What a 
picture it was; the niches filled with mouldering boxes, the 
white gleam of human bones that here and there had fallen 
from them, the bright furnishings and velvet pall of the 
coffin of the newcomer on which he stood and then those 
faces. The priests, still crouched in corners, rolling on the 
ground, their white lips muttering who knows what; the 
sacristan in a swoon, Hague Simon hugging a coffin in a 
niche, as a drowning man hugs a plank, and, standing in 
the midst of them, calm, sardonic and watchful, a drawn 
rapier in his hand, his father Eamiro. 

" We are lost," moaned a priest, losing control of himself. 
" We are lost. They will kill us as they have killed the 
holy Abbe." 

"We are not lost," hissed Ramiro, "we are quite safe, 
but, friend, if you open that cursed mouth of yours again 
it shall be for the last time," and he lifted his sword, add- 
ing, "Silence; he who speaks, dies." 

How long did it last ? Was it one hour, or two or three ? 
None of them knew, but at length the image- breaking was 
done, and it came to an end. The interior of the church, 
with all its wealth and adornments, was utterly destroyed, 
but happily the flames did not reach the roof, and the walls 
could not catch fire. 

By degrees the iconoclasts wearied; there seemed to be 
nothing more to break, and the smoke choked them. Two 
or three at a time they left the ravaged place, and once 
more it became solemn and empty; a symbol of Eternity 
mocking Time, of Peace conquering Tumult, of the 
Patience and Purpose of God triumphant over the passions 
and ravings of Man. Little curls of smoke went up from 
the smouldering fire; now and again a fragment of shat- 
tered stonework fell with an echoing crash, and the cold 



392 LYSBETE 

wind of the coming winter sighed through the gaping win- 
dows. The deed was done, the revenge of a tortured multi- 
tude had set its seal upon the ancient fane in which their 
forefathers worshipped for a score of generations, and once 
more quiet brooded upon the place, and the shafts of the 
sweet moonlight pierced its desecrated solitudes. 

One by one, like ghosts arising at a summons of the 
Spirit, the fugitives crept from the shelter of the tomb, 
crept across the transepts to the little door of the baptistery, 
and with infinite peeping and precaution, out into the 
night, to vanish this way and that, hugging their hearts 
as though to feel whether they still beat safely in their 
bosoms. 

As he passed the Rood Adrian looked up, and there, above 
the broken carvings and the shattered statue of the Virgin, 
hung the calm face of the Saviour crowned with thorns. 
There, too, not far from it, looking small and infinitely 
piteous at that great height, and revolving slowly in the 
sharp draught from the broken windows, hung another 
dead face, the horrid face of the Abbe Dominic, lately the 
envied, prosperous dignitary and pluralist, who not four 
hours since had baptised him into the bosom of the Church, 
and who now himself had been born again into the bosom 
of whatever world awaited him beyond the Gates. It terri- 
fied Adrian ; no ghost could have frightened him more, but 
he set his teeth and staggered on, guided by the light 
gleaming faintly on the sword of Ramiro to whatever 
haven that sword should lead him. 

Before dawn broke it had led him out of Leyden. 

It was after ten o'clock that night when a woman, 
wrapped in a rough frieze coat, knocked at the door of the 
house in the Bree Straat and asked for the Vrouw van 
Goorl. 

" My mistress lies between life and death with the 



MARTHA PREACHES A SERMON 393 

plague," answered the servant. " Get you gone from this 
pest-house, whoever you are." 

"I do not fear the plague," said the visitor. " Is the 
Jufvrouw Elsa Brant still up ? Then tell her that Martha, 
called the Mare, would speak with her." 

"She can see none at such an hour," answered the 
servant. 

" Tell her I come from Foy van Goorl." 

" Enter," said the servant wondering, and shut the door 
behind her. 

A minute later Elsa, pale-faced, worn, but still beautiful, 
rushed into the room, gasping, "What news? Does he 
live? Is he well?" 

" He lives, lady, but he is not well, for the wound in his 
thigh has festered and he cannot walk, or even stand. 
Nay, have no fear, time and clean dressing will heal him, 
and he lies in a safe place." 

In the rapture of her relief Elsa seized the woman's 
hand, and would have kissed it. 

"Touch it not, it is bloodstained," said Martha, draw- 
ing her hand away. 

" Blood ? Whose blood is on it ?" asked Elsa, shrinking 
back. 

" Whose blood ? " answered Martha with a hollow laugh; 
"why that of many a Spanish man. Where, think you, 
lady, that the Mare gallops of nights ? Ask it of the Span- 
iards who travel by the Haarlemer Meer. Aye, and now Red 
Martin is with me and we run together, taking our tithe 
where we can gather it." 

"Oh! tell me no more," said Elsa. " From day to day 
it is ever the same tale, a tale of death. Nay, I know your 
wrongs have driven you mad, but that a woman should 



" A woman ! I am no woman ; my womanhood died with 
my husband and my son. Girl, I tell you that I am no 



394 LYSBETH 

woman; I am a Sword of God myself appointed to the 
sword. And so to the end I kill, and kill and kill till the 
hour when I am killed. Go, look in the church yonder, 
and see who hangs to the high arm of the Rood the fat 
Abbe Dominic. "Well, I sent him there to-night; to-mor- 
row you will hear how I turned parson and preached a ser- 
mon aye, and Eamiro and Adrian called van Goorl, and 
Simon the spy, should have joined him there, only I could 
not find them because their hour has not come. But the 
idols are down and the paintings burnt, and the gold and 
silver and jewels are cast upon the dung-heap. Swept and 
garnished is the temple, made clean and fit for the Lord to 
dwell in." 

" Made clean with the blood of murdered priests, and fit 
by the smoke of sacrilege? " broke in Elsa. ''Oh! woman, 
how can you do such wicked things and not be afraid ? " 

"Afraid?" she answered. "Those who have passed 
through hell have no more fear; death I seek, and when 
judgment comes I will say to the Lord : What have I done 
that the Voice which speaks to me at night did not tell me 
to do ? Look down, the blood of my husband and my son 
still smokes upon the ground. Hearken, Lord God, it 
cries to Thee for vengeance ! " and as she spoke she lifted 
her blackened hands and shook them. Then she went on. 

" They murdered your father, why do you not kill them 
also ? You are small and weak and timid, and could not 
run by night and use the knife as I do, but there is poison. 
I can brew it and bring it to you, made from marsh herbs, 
white as water and deadly as Death himself. What! You 
shrink from such things ? Well, girl, once I was as beauti- 
ful as you and as loving and beloved, and I can do them for 
my love's sake for my love's sake. Nay, 7 do not do 
them, they are done through me. The Sword am I, the 
Sword ! And you too are a sword, though you know it not, 
though you see it not, you, maiden, so soft and white and 



395 

sweet, are a Sword of Vengeance working the death of 
men; I, in my way, you in yours, paying back, back, back, 
full measure pressed down and running over to those 
appointed to die. The treasure of Hendrik Brant, your 
treasure, it is red with blood, every piece of it. I tell you 
that the deaths that I have done are but as a grain of sand 
to a bowlful compared to those which your treasure shall 
do. There, maid, I fright you. Have no fear, it is but 
Mad Martha, who, when she sees, must speak, and through 
the flames in the kirk to-night I saw visions such as I have 
not seen for years." 

" Tell me more of Foy and Martin," said Elsa, who was 
frightened and bewildered. 

At her words a change seemed to come over this woman, 
at once an object of pity and of terror, for the scream went 
out of her voice and she answered quietly, 

" They reached me safe enough five days ago, Red Martiu 
carrying Foy upon his back. From afar I saw him, a naked 
man with a naked sword, and knew him by his size and 
beard. And oh ! when I heard his tale I laughed as I have 
not laughed since I was young." 

"Tell it me, "said Elsa. 

And she told it while the girl listened with clasped hands. 

" Oh! it was brave, brave," she murmured. " Red Mar- 
tin forcing to the door and Foy, weak and wounded, slaying 
the warder. Was there ever such a story ? " 

" Men are brave and desperate with the torture pit behind 
them," answered Martha grimly; " but they did well, and 
now they are safe with me where no Spaniard can find them 
unless they hunt in great companies after the ice forms and 
the reeds are dead." 

"Would that I could be there also," said Elsa, "but I 
tend his mother who is very sick, so sick that I do not 
know whether she will live or die." 

"Nay, you are best here among your people," answered 



396 LYSBETH 

Martha. "And now that the Spaniards are driven out, 
here Foy shall return also so soon as it is safe for him to 
travel ; but as yet he cannot stir, and Red Martin stays 
to watch him. Before long, however, he must move, for 
I have tidings that the Spaniards are about to besiege 
Haarlem with a great army, and then the Mere will be no 
longer safe for us, and I shall leave it to fight with the 
Haarlem folk." 

" And Foy and Martin will return ? " 

" I think so, if they are not stopped." 

" Stopped ? " and she put her hand upon her heart. 

"The times are rough, Jufvrouw Elsa. Who that 
breathes the air one morning can know what breath will 
pass his nostrils at the nightfall ? The times are rough, 
and Death is king of them. The hoard of Hendrik Brant 
is not forgotten, nor those who have its key. Ramiro 
slipped through my hands to-night, and doubtless by now 
is far away from Leyden seeking the treasure." 

"The treasure! Oh! that thrice accursed treasure!" 
broke in Elsa, shivering as though beneath an icy wind ; 
" would that we were rid of it." 

" That you cannot be until it is appointed, for is this not 
the heritage which your father died to save ? Listen. Do 
you know, lady, where it lies hid?" and she dropped her 
voice to a whisper. 

Elsa shook her head, saying: 

" I neither know nor wish to know." 

" Still it is best that you should be told, for we three 
who have the secret may be killed, every one of us no, not 
the place, but where to seek a clue to the place." 

Elsa looked at her questioningly, and Martha, leaning 
forward, whispered in her ear : 

" It lies in the hilt of the Sword Silence. If Red Martin 
should be taken or killed, seek out his sword and open the 
hilt. Do you understand ? " 



MARTHA PREACHES A SERMON 397 

Elsa nodded and answered, "But if aught happens to 
Martin the sword may be lost." 

Martha shrugged her shoulders. "Then the treasure 
will be lost also, that is if I am gone. It is as God wills; 
but at least in name you are the heiress, and you should 
know where to find its secret, which may serve you or your 
country in good stead in time to come. I give you no 
paper, I tell you only where to seek a paper, and now I 
must be gone to reach the borders of the Mere by daybreak. 
Have you any message for your love, lady ? ' ' 

" I would write a word, if you can wait. They will bring 
you food." 

"Good; write on and I will eat. Love for the young 
and meat for the old, and for both let God be thanked." 



CHAPTEK XXV 

THE BED MILL 

AFTER a week's experience of that delectable dwelling and 
its neighbourhood, Adrian began to grow weary of the Red 
Mill. Nine or ten Dutch miles to the nor'-west of Haarlem 
is a place called Velsen, situated on the borders of the sand- 
dunes, to the south of what is known to-day as the North 
Sea Canal. In the times of which this page of history tells, 
however, the canal was represented by a great drainage 
dyke, and Velsen was but a deserted village. Indeed, here- 
abouts all the country was deserted, for some years before 
a Spanish force had passed through it, burning, slaying, 
laying waste, so that few were left to tend the windmills 
and repair the dyke. Holland is a country won from 
swamps and seas, and if the water is not pumped out of it, 
and the ditches are not cleaned, very quickly it relapses 
into primeval marsh ; indeed, it is fortunate if the ocean, 
bursting through the feeble barriers reared by the industry 
of man, does not turn it into vast lagoons of salt water. 

Once the Red Mill had been a pumping station, which, 
when the huge sails worked, delivered the water from the 
fertile meadows into the great dyke, whence it ran through 
sluice gates to the North Sea. Now, although the embank- 
ment of this dyke still held, the meadows had gone back 
into swamps. Rising out of these for it was situated upon 
a low mound of earth, raised, doubtless, as a point of refuge 
by marsh -dwellers who lived and died before history began, 
towered the wreck of a narrow-waisted windmill, built of 
brick below and wood above, of very lonesome and com- 



THE RED MILL 399 

manding appearance in its gaunt solitude. There were no 
houses near it, no cattle grazed about its foot ; it was a dead 
thing in a dead landscape. To the left, but separated from 
it by a wide and slimy dyke, whence in times of flood the 
thick, brackish water trickled to the plain, stretched an 
arid area of sand-dunes, clothed with sparse grass, that grew 
like bristles upon the back of a wild hog. Beyond these 
dunes the ocean roared and moaned and whispered hun- 
grily as the wind and weather stirred its depths. In front, 
not fifty paces away, ran the big dyke like a raised road, 
secured by embankments, and discharging day by day its 
millions of gallons of water into the sea. But these em- 
bankments were weakening now, and here and there could 
be seen a spot which looked as though a giant ploughshare 
had been drawn up them, for a groove of brown earth 
scarred the face of green, where in some winter flood the 
water had poured over to find its level, cutting them like 
cheese, but when its volume sank, leaving them still stand- 
ing, and as yet sufficient for their purpose. 

To the right again and behind, were more marshes, 
broken only in the distance by the towers of Haarlem and 
the spires of village churches, marshes where the snipe and 
bittern boomed, the herons fed, and in summer the frogs 
croaked all night long. 

Such was the refuge to which Eamiro and his son, Adrian, 
had been led by Hague Simon and Black Meg, after they 
had escaped with their lives from Leyden upon the night 
of the image-breaking in the church, that ominous night 
when the Abbe Dominic gave up the ghost on the arm of 
the lofty Rood, and Adrian had received absolution and 
baptism from his consecrated hand. 

On the journey thither Adrian asked no questions as to 
their destination ; he was too broken in heart and too 
shaken in body to be curious; life in those days was for 
him too much of a hideous phantasmagoria of waste and 



400 LYSBETH 

blackness out of which appeared vengeful, red-handed fig- 
ures, out of which echoed dismal, despairing voices calling 
him to doom. 

They came to the place and found its great basement 
and the floors above, or some of them, furnished after a 
fashion. The mill had been inhabited, and recently, as 
Adrian gathered, by smugglers, or thieves, with whom Meg 
and Simon were in alliance, or some such outcast evil-doers 
who knew that here the arm of the law could not reach them. 
Though, indeed, while Alva ruled in the Netherlands there 
was little law to be feared except by those who were rich or 
who dared to worship God after their own manner. 

" Why have we come here father," Adrian was about to 
add, but the word stuck in his throat. 

Ramiro shrugged his shoulders and looked round him 
with his one criticising eye. 

" Because our guides and friends, the worthy Simon and 
his wife, assure me that in this spot alone our throats are for 
the present safe, and by St. Pancras, after what we saw in the 
church yonder I am inclined to agree with them. He looked 
a poor thing up under the roof there, the holy Father Dom- 
inic, didn't he, hanging like a black spider from the end of 
his cord? Bah! my backbone aches when I think of him." 

" And how long are we to stop here ? " 

" Till till Don Frederic has taken Haarlem and these 
fat Hollanders, or those who are left of them, lick our boots 
for mercy," and he ground his teeth, then added: "Son, 
do you play cards ? Good, well let us have a game. Here 
are dice; it will serve to turn our thoughts. Now then, 
a hundred guilders on it." 

So they played and Adrian won, whereon, to his amaze- 
ment, his father paid him the money. 

" What is the use of that ? " asked Adrian. 

" Gentlemen should always pay their debts at cards." 

"And if they cannot?" 



THE RED MILL 401 

" Then they must keep score of the amount and dis- 
charge it when they are able. Look you, young man, 
everything else you may forget, but what you lose over the 
dice is a debt of honour. There lives no man who can say 
that I cheated him of a guilder at cards, though I fear 
some others have my name standing in their books." 

When they rose from their game that night Adrian had 
won between three and four hundred florins. Next day 
his winnings amounted to a thousand florins, for which his 
father gave him a carefully-executed note of hand ; but at 
the third sitting the luck changed or perhaps skill began to 
tell, and he lost two thousand florins. These he paid up 
by returning his father's note, his own winnings, and all 
the balance of the purse of gold which his mother had given 
to him when he was driven from the house, so that now he 
was practically penniless. 

The rest of the history may be guessed. At every game 
the stakes were increased, for since Adrian could not pay, it 
was a matter of indifference to him how much he wagered. 
Moreover, he found a kind of mild excitement in playing 
at the handling of such great sums of money. By the end 
of a week he had lost a queen's dowry. As they rose from 
the table that night his father filled in the usual form, re- 
quested him to be so good as to sign it, and a sour-faced 
woman who had arrived at the mill, Adrian knew not whence, 
to do the household work, to put her name as witness. 

"What is the use of this farce?" asked Adrian. 
" Brant's treasure would scarcely pay that bill." 

His father pricked his ears. 

" Indeed ? I lay it at as much again. What is the use ? 
Who knows one day you might become rich, for, as the 
great Emperor said, ' Fortune is a woman who reserves her 
favours for the young,' and then, doubtless, being the man 
of honour that you are, you would wish to pay your old 
gambling debts." 
26 



402 LYSBETH 

<fc 

"Oh! yes, I should pay if I could," answered Adrian 
with a yawn. " But it seems hardly worth while talking 
about, does it?" and he sauntered out of the place into 
the open air. 

His father rose, and, standing by the great peat fire, 
watched him depart thoughtfully. 

"Let me take stock of the position," he said to him- 
self. " The dear child hasn't a farthing left ; therefore, 
although he is getting bored, he can't run away. More- 
over, he owes me more money than I ever saw ; there- 
fore, if he should chance to become the husband of the 
Jufvrouw Brant, and the legal owner of her parent's 
wealth, whatever disagreements may ensue between him 
and me I shall have earned my share of it in a clean and 
gentlemanly fashion. If, on the other hand, it should 
become necessary for me to marry the young lady, which 
God forbid, at least no harm is done, and he will have had 
the advantage of some valuable lessons from the most ac- 
complished card-player in Spain. 

" And now what we need to enliven this detestable place 
is the presence of Beauty herself. Our worthy friends 
should be back soon bringing their sheaves with them, let 
us hope, for otherwise matters will be complicated. Let 
me see: have I thought of everything, for in such affairs 
one oversight He is a Catholic, therefore, can contract 
a legal marriage under the Proclamations it was lucky 
I remembered that point of law, though it nearly cost 
us all our lives and the priest, I can lay my hands on 
him, a discreet man, who won't hear if the lady says No, 
but filled beyond a question with the power and virtue of 
his holy office. No, I have nothing to reproach myself 
with in the way of precaution, nothing at all. I have sown 
the seed well and truly, it remains only for Providence to 
give the increase, or shall I say no, I think not, for 
between the general and the private familiarity is always 



THE RED MILL 403 

m 

odious. Well, it is time that you met with a little success 
and settled down, for you have worked hard, Juan, my 
friend, and you are getting old yes, Juan, you are getting 
old. Bah! what a hole and what weather! " and Montalvo 
established himself by the fireside to doze away his ennui. 

When Adrian shut the door behind him the late Novem- 
ber day was drawing to its close, and between the rifts in 
the sullen snow clouds now and again an arrow from the 
westering sun struck upon the tall, skeleton-like sails of 
the mill, through which the wind rushed with a screaming 
noise. Adrian had intended to walk on the marsh, but 
finding it too sodden, he crossed the western dyke by means 
of a board laid from bank to bank, and struck into the 
sand-dunes beyond. Even in the summer, when the air 
was still and flowers bloomed and larks sang, these dunes 
were fantastic and almost unnatural in appearance, with 
their deep, wind-scooped hollows of pallid sand, their sharp 
angles, miniature cliffs, and their crests crowned with coarse 
grasses. But now, beneath the dull pall of the winter sky, 
no spot in the world could have been more lonesome or 
more desolate, for never a sign of man was to be seen upon 
them and save for a solitary curlew, whose sad note reached 
Adrian's ears as it beat up wind from the sea, even the 
beasts and birds that dwelt there had hidden themselves 
away. Only the voices of Nature remained in all their 
majesty, the drear screams and moan of the rushing wind, 
and above it, now low and now voluminous as the gale 
veered, the deep and constant roar of the ocean. 

Adrian reached the highest crest of the ridge, whence 
the sea, hidden hitherto, became suddenly visible, a vast, 
slate-coloured expanse, twisted here and there into heaps, 
hollowed here and there into valleys, and broken every- 
where with angry lines and areas of white. In such trouble, 
for, after its own fashion, his heart was troubled, some tem- 
peraments might have found a kind of consolation in this 



404 LYSBETH 

sight, for while we witness them, at any rate, the throes 
and moods of Nature in their greatness declare a mastery 
of our senses, and stun or hush to silence the petty tur- 
moil of our souls. This, at least, is so with those who have 
eyes to read the lesson written on Nature's face, and ears 
to hear the message which day by day she delivers with her 
lips ; gifts given only to such as hold the cypher-key of 
imagination, and pray for grace to use it. 

In Adrian's case, however, the weirdness of the sand-hills 
and the grandeur of the seascape with the bitter wind that 
blew between and the solitude which brooded over all, 
served only to exasperate nerves that already were strained 
well nigh to breaking. 

Why had his father brought him to this hideous swamp 
bordered by a sailless sea? To save their lives from the 
fury of the mob ? This he understood, but there was more 
in it than that, some plot which he did not understand, 
and which the ruffian, Hague Simon, and that she-fiend, his 
companion, had gone away to execute. Meanwhile he must 
sit here day after day playing cards with the wretch Ramiro, 
whom, for no fault of his own, God had chosen out to be his 
parent. By the way, why was the man so fond of playing 
cards? And what was the meaning of all that nonsense 
about notes of hand ? Yes, here he must sit, and for com- 
pany he had the sense of his unalterable shame, the memory 
of his mother's face as she spurned and rejected him, the 
vision of the woman whom he loved and had lost, and the 
ghost of Dirk van Goorl. 

He shivered as he thought of it; yes, his hair lifted and 
his lip twitched involuntarily, for to Adrian's racked nerves 
and distorted vision this ghost of the good man whom he 
had betrayed was no child of phantasy. He had woken in 
the night and seen it standing at his bedside, plague-defiled 
and hunger-wasted, and because of it he dreaded to sleep 
alone, especially in that creaking, rat-haunted mill, whose 



THE RED MILL 405 

every board seemed charged with some tale of death and 
blood. Heavens! At this very moment he thought he 
could hear that dead voice calling down the gale. No, it 
must be the curlew, but at least he would be going home. 
Home that place home with not even a priest near to 
confess to and be comforted ! 

Thanks be to the Saints! the wind had dropped a little, 
but now in place of it came the snow, dense, whirling, 
white; so dense indeed that he could scarcely see his path. 
What an end that would be, to be frozen to death in the 
snow on these sand-hills while the spirit of Dirk van Goorl 
sat near and watched him die with those hollow, hungry 
eyes. The sweat came upon Adrian's forehead at the 
thought, and he broke into a run, heading for the bank of 
the great dyke that pierced the dunes half a mile or so 
away, which bank must, he knew, lead him to the mill. 
He reached it and trudged along what had been the tow- 
path, though now it was overgrown with weeds and rushes. 

was not a pleasant journey, for the twilight had closed 
in with speed and the thick flakes, that seemed to leap 
into his face and sting him, turned it into a darkness 
mottled with faint white. Still he stumbled forward 
with bent head and close-wrapped cloak till he judged 
that he must be near to the mill, and halted staring 
through the gloom. 

Just then the snow ceased for a while and light crept 
back to the cold face of the earth, showing Adrian that he 
had done well to halt. In front of where he stood, within 
a few paces of his feet indeed, for a distance of quite twenty 
yards the lower part of the bank had slipped away, washed 
from the stone core with which it was faced at this point, 
by a slow and neglected percolation of water. Had he 
walked on therefore, he would have fallen his own height 
or more into a slough of mud, whence he might, or might 
not have been able to extricate himself. As it was, how- 



406 LYSBETH 

ever, by such light as remained he could crawl upon the 
coping of the stonework which was still held in place with 
old struts of timber that, until they had been denuded by 
the slow and constant leakage, were buried and supported 
in the vanished earthwork. It was not a pleasant bridge, 
for to the right lay the mud-bottomed gulf, and to the left, 
almost level with his feet, were the black and peaty waters 
of the rain-fed dyke pouring onwards to the sea. 

"Next flood this will go," thought Adrian to himself, 
"and then the marsh must become a mere which will be 
bad for whomever happens to be living in the Eed Mill." 
He was on firm ground again now, and there, looming tall 
and spectral against the gloom, not five hundred yards 
away, rose the gaunt sails of the mill. To reach it he 
walked on six score paces or more to the little landing- 
quay, whence a raised path ran to the building. As he 
drew near to it he was astonished to hear the rattle of oars 
working in rollocks and a man's voice say: 

"Steady, here is the place, praise the Saints! Now, 
then, out passengers and let us be gone." 

Adrian, whom events had made timid, drew beneath the 
shadow of the bank and watched, while from the dim out- 
line of the boat arose three figures, or rather two figures 
arose, dragging the third between them. 

"Hold her," said a voice that seemed familiar, "while 
I give these men their hire," and there followed a noise of 
clinking coin, mingled with some oaths and grumbling 
about the weather and the distance, which were abated 
with more coin. Then again the oars rattled and the boat 
was pushed off, whereon a sweet voice cried in agonised 
tones: 

" Sirs, you who have wives and daughters, will you leave 
me in the hands of these wretches ? In the name of God 
take pity upon my helplessness." 

" It is a shame, and she so fair a maid," grumbled an- 



THE RED MILL 407 

other thick and raucous voice, but the steersman cried, 
" Mind your business, Marsh Jan. We have done our job 
and got our pay, so leave the gentry to settle their own 
love affairs. Good night to you, passengers; give way, give 
way," and the boat swung round and vanished into the 
gloom. 

For a moment Adrian's heart stood still; then he sprang 
forward to see before him Hague Simon, the Butcher, 
Black Meg his wife, and between them a bundle wrapped 
in shawls. 

1 'What is this?" he asked. 

''You ought to know, Heer Adrian," answered Black 
Meg with a chuckle, " seeing that this charming piece of 
goods has been brought all the way from Leyden, regardless 
of expense, for your especial benefit." 

The bundle lifted its head, and the faint light shone 
upon the white and terrified face of Elsa Brant. 

" May God reward you for this evil deed, Adrian, called 
van Goorl," said the pitiful voice. 

"This deed! What deed?" he stammered in answer. 
" I know nothing of it, Elsa Brant." 

"You know nothing of it? Yet it was done in your 
name, and you are here to receive me, who was kidnapped 
as I walked outside Leyden to be dragged hither with force 
by these monsters. Oh ! have you no heart and no fear of 
judgment that you can speak thus? " 

"Free her," roared Adrian, rushing at the Butcher to 
see a knife gleaming in his hand and another in that of 
Black Meg. 

" Stop your nonsense, Master Adrian, and stand back. 
If you have anything to say, say it to your father, the 
Count. Come, let us pass, for we are cold and weary," and 
taking Elsa by the elbows they brushed past him, nor, 
indeed, even had he not been too bewildered to interfere, 
could Adrian have stayed them, for he was unarmed. Be- 



408 LYSBETH 

sides, where would be the use, seeing that the boat had 
gone and that they were alone on a winter's night in the 
wind-swept wilderness, with no refuge for miles save such 
as the mill house could afford. So Adrian bent his head, 
for the snow had begun to fall again, and, sick at heart, 
followed them along the path. Now he understood at 
length why they had come to the Red Mill. 

Simon opened the door and entered, but Elsa hung back 
at its ill-omened threshold. She even tried to struggle 
a little, poor girl, whereon the ruffian in front jerked her 
towards him with an oath, so that she caught her foot and 
fell upon her face. This was too much for Adrian. Spring- 
ing forward he struck the Butcher full in the mouth with 
his fist, and next moment they were rolling over and over 
each other upon the floor, struggling fiercely for the knife 
which Simon held. 

During all her life Elsa never forgot that scene. Behind 
her the howling blackness of the night and the open door, 
through which flake by flake the snow leapt into the light. 
In front the large round room, fashioned from the basement 
of the mill, lit only by the great fire of turfs and a single 
horn lantern, hung from the ceiling that was ribbed with 
beams of black and massive oak. And there, in this for- 
bidding, naked-looking place, that rocked and quivered as 
the gale caught the tall arms of the mill above, seated by 
the hearth in a rude chair of wood and sleeping, one man, 
Eamiro, the Spanish sleuth-hound, who had hunted down 
her father, he whom above every other she held in horror 
and in hate; and two, Adrian and the spy, at death-grips 
on the floor, between them the sheen of a naked knife. 

Such was the picture. 

Eamiro awoke at the noise, and there was fear on his face 
as though some ill dream lingered in his brain. Next 
instant he saw and understood. 

" I will run the man through who strikes another blow/' 



THE RED MILL 409 

he said, in a cold clear voice as lie drew his sword. " Stand 
up, you fools, and tell me what this means." 

"It means that this brute beast but now threw Elsa 
Brant upon her face," gasped Adrian as he rose, "and I 
punished him." 

" It is a lie," hissed the other; " I pulled the minx on, 
that is all, and so would you have done, if you had been 
cursed with such a wild-cat for four-and-twenty hours. 
Why, when we took her she was more trouble to hold than 
any man." 

"Oh! I understand," interrupted Eamiro, who had re- 
covered his composure; "a little maidenly reluctance, that 
is all, my worthy Simon, and as for this young gentleman, 
a little lover-like anxiety doubtless in bygone years you 
have felt the same," and he glanced mockingly at Black 
Meg. "So do not be too ready to take offence, good 
Simon. Youth will be youth." 

" And Youth will get a knife between its ribs if it is not 
careful," grumbled Hague Simon, as he spat out a piece of 
broken tooth. 

"Why am I brought here, Seflor," broke in Elsa, "in 
defiance of laws and justice ? " 

"Laws! Mejufvrouw, I did not know that there were 
any left in the Netherlands; justice! well, all is fair in love 
and war, as any lady will admit. And the reason why I 
think you must ask Adrian, he knows more about it than 
I do." 

" He says that he knows nothing, Seflor." 

" Does he, the rogue ? Does he indeed ? "Well, it would 
be rude to contradict him, wouldn't it, so I for one unre- 
servedly accept his statement that he knows nothing, and 
I advise you to do the same. No, no, my boy, do not 
trouble to explain, we all quite understand. Now, my good 
dame," he went on addressing the serving- woman who 
had entered the place, ' ' take this young lady to the best 



410 LYSBETU 

room you have above. And, listen, both of you, she is 
to be treated with all kindness, do you hear, for if any 
harm comes to her, either at your hands or her own, by 
Heaven! you shall pay for it to the last drop of your blood. 
Now, no excuses and no mistakes." 

The two women, Meg and the other, nodded and motioned 
to Elsa to accompany them. She considered a moment, 
looking first at Eamiro and next at Adrian. Then her 
head dropped upon her breast, and turning without a word 
she followed them up the creaking oaken stair that rose 
from a niche near the wall of the ingle-nook. 

" Father," said Adrian when the massive door had closed 
behind her and they were left alone "father for I sup- 
pose that I must call you so." 

" There is not the slightest necessity," broke in Kamiro; 
" facts, my dear son, need not always be paraded in the 
cold light of day fortunately. But, proceed." 

" What does all this mean ? " 

" I wish I could tell you. It appears to mean, however, 
that without any effort upon your part, for you seem to me 
a young man singularly devoid of resource, your love affairs 
are prospering beyond expectation." 

"I have had nothing to do with the business; I wash 
my hands of it." 

"That is as well. Some sensitive people might think 
they need a deal of washing. You young fool," he went 
on, dropping his mocking manner, " listen to me. You 
are in love with this pink and white piece of goods, and 
I have brought her here for you to marry." 

" And I refuse to marry her against her will." 

" As to that you can please yourself. But somebody has 
got to marry her you, or I." 

" You you ! " gasped Adrian. 

" Quite so. The adventure is not one, to be frank, that 
attracts me. At my age memories are sufficient. But 



THE RED MILL 411 

material interests must be attended to, so if you decline 
well, I am still eligible and hearty. Do you see the 
point?" 

"No, what is it?" 

" It is a sound title to the inheritance of the departed 
Hendrik Brant. That wealth we might, it is true, obtain 
by artifice or by arms; but how much better that it should 
come into the family in a regular fashion, thereby ousting 
the claim of the Crown. Things in this country are dis- 
turbed at present, but they will not always be disturbed, for 
in the end somebody must give way and order will prevail. 
Then questions might be asked, for persons in possession 
of great riches are always the mark of envy. But if the 
heiress is married to a good Catholic and loyal subject of 
the king, who can cavil at rights sanctified by the laws of 
God and man ? Think it over, my dear Adrian, think it 
over. Step-mother or wife you can take your choice." 

With impotent rage, with turmoil of heart and torment 
of conscience, Adrian did think it over. All that night he 
thought, tossing on his rat-haunted pallet, while without 
the snow whirled and the wind beat. If he did not marry 
Elsa, his father would, and there could be no doubt as to 
which of these alternatives would be best and happiest for 
her. Elsa married to that wicked, cynical, devil-possessed, 
battered, fortune-hunting adventurer with a nameless past ! 
This must be prevented at any cost. With his father her 
lot must be a hell; with himself after a period of storm 
and doubt perhaps it could scarcely be other than happy, 
for was he not young, handsome, sympathetic, and de- 
voted ? Ah ! there was the real point. He loved this lady 
with all the earnestness of which his nature was capable, 
and the thought of her passing into the possession of 
another man gave him the acutest anguish. That the man 
should be Foy, his half-brother, was bad enough; that it 
should be Kamiro, his father, was insupportable, 



412 LYSBETH 

At breakfast the following morning, when Elsa did not 
appear, the pair met. 

" You look pale, Adrian," said his father presently. " I 
fear that this wild weather kept you awake last night, as it 
did me, although at your age I have slept through the roar 
of a battle. Well, have you thought over our conversa- 
tion ? I do not wish to trouble you with these incessant 
family matters, but time presses, and it is necessary to 
decide." 

Adrian looked out of the lattice at the snow, which 
fell and fell without pause. Then he turned and 
said: 

" Yes. Of the two it is best that she should marry me, 
though I think that such a crime will bring its own 
reward." 

"Wise young man," answered his father. "Under all 
your cloakings of vagary I observe that you have a founda- 
tion of common-sense, just as the giddiest weathercock is 
bedded on a stone. As for the reward, considered properly 
it seems to be one upon which I can heartily congratulate 
you." 

"Peace to that talk," said Adrian, angrily; "you forget 
that there are two parties to such a contract; her consent 
must be gained, and I will not ask it." 

"No? Then I will; a few arguments occur to me. 
Now look here, friend, we have struck a bargain, and you 
will be so good as to keep it or to take the consequences 
oh! never mind what they are. I will bring this lady to 
the altar or, rather, to that table, and you will marry her, 
after which you can settle matters just exactly as you 
please; live with her as your wife, or make your bow and 
walk away, which, I care nothing so long as you are mar- 
ried. Now I am weary of all this talk, so be so good as 
to leave me in peace on the subject." 

Adrian looked at him, opened his lips to speak, then 



THE RED MILL 418 

changed his mind and marched out of the house into the 
blinding snow. 

" Thank Heaven he is gone at last!" reflected his father, 
arid called for Hague Simon, with whom he held a long 
and careful interview. 

" You understand ? " he ended. 

"I understand," answered Simon, sulkily. "I am to 
find this priest, who should be waiting at the place you 
name, and to bring him here by nightfall to-morrow, which 
is a rough job for a Christian man in such weather as this." 

"The pay, friend Simon, remember the pay." 

" Oh! yes, it all sounds well enough, but I should like 
something on account." 

" You shall have it is not such a labourer worthy of his 
hire? " replied his employer with enthusiasm, and produc- 
ing from his pocket the purse which Lysbeth had given 
Adrian, with a smile of peculiar satisfaction, for really the 
thing had a comic side, he counted a handsome sum into 
the hand of this emissary of Venus. 

Simon looked at the money, concluded, after some reflec- 
tion, that it would scarcely do to stand out for more at 
present, pouched it, and having wrapped himself in a thick 
frieze coat, opened the door and vanished into the falling 
snow. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE BRIDEGROOM AND THE BRIDE 

THE day passed, and through every hour of it the snow 
fell incessantly. Night came, and it was still falling in 
large, soft flakes that floated to the earth gently as thistle- 
down, for now there was no wind. Adrian met his father 
at meals only; the rest of the day he preferred to spend out 
of doors in the snow, or hanging about the old sheds at the 
back of the mill, rather than endure the society of this ter- 
rible man; this man of mocking words and iron purpose, 
who was forcing him into the commission of a great crime. 

It was at breakfast on the following morning that Ramiro 
inquired of Black Meg whether the Jufvrouw Brant had 
sufficiently recovered from the fatigues of her journey to 
honour them with her presence. The woman replied that 
she absolutely refused to leave her room, or even to speak 
more than was necessary. 

" Then," said Ramiro, " as it is important that I should 
have a few words with her, be so good as to tell the young 
lady, with my homage, that I will do myself the honour of 
waiting on her in the course of the forenoon." 

Meg departed on her errand, and Adrian looked up sus- 
piciously. 

"Calm yourself, young friend," said his father, "al- 
though the interview will be private, you have really no 
cause for jealousy. At present, remember, I am but the 
second string in the bow-case, the understudy who has 
learnt the part, a humble position, but one which may 
prove useful." 

At all of which gibes Adrian winced. But he did not 



THE BRIDEGROOM AND THE BRIDE 415 

reply, for by now he had learned that he was no match for 
his father's bitter wit. 

Elsa received the message as she received everything else, 
in silence. 

Three days before, as after a fearful illness during 
which on several occasions she was at the very doors of 
death, Lysbeth van Goorl had been declared out of dan- 
ger, Elsa, her nurse, ventured to leave her for a few 
hours. That evening the town seemed to stifle her and, 
feeling that she needed the air of the country, she passed 
the Morsch poort and walked a little way along the banks 
of the canal, never noticing, poor girl, that her footsteps 
were dogged. When it began to grow dusk, she halted and 
stood a while gazing towards the Haarlemer Meer, letting 
her heart go out to the lover who, as she thought and 
hoped, within a day or two would be at her side. 

Then it was that something was thrown over her head, 
and for a while all was black. She awoke to find herself 
lying in a boat, and watching her, two wretches, whom she 
recognised as those who had assailed her when first she 
came to Leyden from The Hague. 

" Why have you kidnapped me, and where am I going ? " 
she asked. 

" Because we are paid to do it, and you are going to 
Adrian van Goorl," was the answer. 

Then she understood, and was silent. 

Thus they brought her to this lonesome, murderous- 
looking place, where sure enough Adrian was waiting for 
her, waiting with a lie upon his lips. Now, doubtless, 
the end was at hand. She, who loved his brother with all 
her heart and soul, was to be given forcibly in marriage to 
a man whom she despised and loathed, the vain, furious- 
tempered traitor, who, for revenge, jealousy, or greed, she 
knew not which, had not hesitated to send his benefactor, and 
mother's husband, to perish in the fires of the Inquisition. 



418 LYSBETH 

What was she to do ? Escape seemed out of the ques- 
tion, imprisoned as she was on the third story of a lofty 
mill standing in a lonely, snow-shrouded wilderness, cut off 
from the sight of every friendly face, and spied on hour 
after hour by two fierce-eyed women. No, there was only 
one escape for her through the gate of death. Even this 
would be difficult, for she had no weapon, and day and 
night the women kept guard over her, one standing sen- 
tinel, while the other slept. Moreover, she had no mind 
to die, being young and healthy, with a love to live for, 
and from her childhood up she had been taught that self- 
slaughter is a sin. No, she would trust in God, and over- 
whelming though it was, fight her way through this trouble 
as best she might. The helpless find friends sometimes. 
Therefore, that her strength might be preserved, Elsa rested 
and ate of her food, and drank the wine which they brought 
to her, refusing to leave the room, or to speak more than 
she was obliged, but watching everything that passed. 

On the second morning of her imprisonment Ramiro's 
message reached her, to which, as usual, she made no 
answer. In due course also Ramiro himself arrived, and 
stood bowing in the doorway. 

"Have I your permission to enter, Jufvrouw?" he 
asked. Then Elsa, knowing that the moment of trial had 
come, steeled herself for the encounter. 

" You are master here," she answered, in a voice cold as 
the falling snow without, " why then do you mock me ? " 

He motioned to the women to leave the room, and when 
they had gone, replied : 

" I have little thought of such a thing, lady; the matter 
in hand is too serious for smart sayings," and with another 
bow he sat himself down on a chair near the hearth, where 
a fire was burning. Thereon Elsa rose and stood over 
against him, for upon her feet she seemed to feel 
stronger. 



THE BRIDEGROOM AND TEE BRIDE 417 

" Will you be so good as to set out this matter, Sefior 
Ramiro ? Am I brought here to be tried for heresy ? " 

" Even so, for heresy against the god of love, and the 
sentence of the Court is that you must expiate your sin, 
not at the stake, but at the altar." 

" I do not understand." 

" Then I will explain. My son Adrian, a worthy young 
man on the whole you know that he is my son, do you 
not ? has had the misfortune, or I should say the good 
fortune, to fall earnestly in love with you, whereas you 
have the bad taste or, perhaps, the good taste to give 
your affections elsewhere. Under the circumstances, 
Adrian, being a youth of spirit and resource, has fallen 
back upon primitive methods in order to bring his suit to 
a successful conclusion. He is here, you are here, and this 
evening I understand that the priest will be here. I need 
not dwell upon the obvious issue; indeed, it is a private 
matter upon which I have no right to intrude, except, of 
course, as a relative and a well-wisher." 

Elsa made an impatient movement with her hand, as 
though to brush aside all this web of words. 

" Why do you take so much trouble to force an unhappy 
girl into a hateful marriage?" she asked. "How can 
such a thing advantage you ? " 

" Ah! " answered Ramiro briskly, " I perceive I have to 
do with a woman of business, one who has that rarest of 
gifts common sense. I will be frank. Your esteemed 
father died possessed of a very large fortune, which to-day 
is your property as his sole issue and heiress. Under the 
marriage laws, which I myself think unjust, that fortune 
will pass into the power of any husband whom you choose 
to take. Therefore, so soon as you are made his wife it 
will pass to Adrian. I am Adrian's father, and, as it hap- 
pens, he is pecuniarily indebted to me to a considerable 
amount, so that, in the upshot, as he himself has pointed 
27 



418 LYSBETH 

out more than once, this alliance will provide for both of 
us. But business details are wearisome, so I need not 
enlarge." 

" The fortune you speak of, Sefior Ramiro, is lost." 

"It is lost, but I have reason to hope that it will be 
found." 

" You mean that this is purely a matter of money ? " 

" So far as I am concerned, purely. For Adrian's feel- 
ings I cannot speak, since who knows the mystery of 
another's heart?" 

" Then, if the money were forthcoming or a cine to it 
there need be no marriage ? " 

" So far as I am concerned, none at all." 

" And if the money is not forthcoming, and I refuse to 
marry the Heer Adrian, or he to marry me what then ? " 

" That is a riddle, but I think I see an answer at any 
rate to half of it. Then the marriage would still take 
place, but with another bridegroom." 

' ' Another bridegroom ! Who ? " 

" Your humble and devoted adorer." 

Elsa shuddered and recoiled a step. 

"Ah! " he said, " I should not have bowed, you saw my 
white hairs to the young a hateful sight." 

Elsa's indignation rose, and she answered : 

" It is not your white hair that I shrink from, Sefior, 
which in some would be a crown of honour, but " 

" In my case suggests to you other reflections. Be gentle 
and spare me them. In a world of rough actions, what 
need to emphasise them with rough words? " 

For a few minutes there was silence, which Ramiro. 
glancing out of the lattice, broke by remarking that "the 
snowfall was extraordinarily heavy for the time of year." 
Then followed another silence. 

" I understood you just now, dear lady, to make some 
sort of suggestion which might lead to an arrangement sat- 



THE BRIDEGROOM AND THE BRIDE 419 

isfactory to both of us. The exact locality of this wealth is 
at present obscure you mentioned some clue. Are you 
in a position to furnish such a clue? " 

" If I am in a position, what then ? " 

" Then, perhaps, after a few days visit to an interesting, 
but little explored part of Holland, you might return to 
your friends as you left them in short as a single woman." 

A struggle shook Elsa, and do what she would some trace 
of it appeared in her face. 

" Will you swear that ? " she whispered. 

"Most certainly." 

" Do you swear before God that if you have this clue you 
will not force me into a marriage with the Heer Adrian, or 
with yourself that you will let me go, unharmed ? " 

" I swear it before God." 

" Knowing that God will be revenged upon you if you 
break the oath, you still swear ? " 

" I still swear. Why these needless repetitions ? " 

"Then then," and she leant towards him, speaking in 
a hoarse whisper, "believing that you, even you, will not 
dare to be false to such an oath, for you, even you, must 
fear death, a miserable death, and vengeance, eternal ven- 
geance, I give you the clue: It lies in the hilt of the sword 
Silence." 

" The sword Silence ? What sword is that ? " 

" The great sword of Red Martin." 

Stirred out of his self-control Ramiro struck his hand 
upon his knee. 

"And to think," he said, "that for over twelve hours 
I had it hanging on the wall of the Gevangenhuis ! Well, 
I fear that I must ask you to be more explicit. Where is 
this sword?" 

" Wherever Red Martin is, that is all I know. I can tell 
you no more; the plan of the hiding-place is there." 

" Or was there. Well, I believe you, but to win a secret 



420 LYSJiETH 

from the hilt of the sword of the man who broke his way 
out of the torture-chamber of the Gevaugeuhuis, is a labour 
that would have been not unworthy of Hercules. First, 
Red Martin must bo found, then his sword must be 
taken, which, I think, will cost men their lives. Dear 
lady, I am obliged for your information, but I fear that the 
marriage must still go through." 

" You swore, you swore," she gasped, " you swore before 
God!" 

" Quite so, and I shall leave the Power yon refer to to 
manage the matter. Doubtless He can attend to His own 
affairs I must attend to mine. I hope that about seven 
o'clock this evening will suit you, by which time the priest 
and a bridegroom will be ready." 

Then Elea broke down. 

" Devil ! " she cried in the torment of her despair. " To 
save my honour I have betrayed my father's trust; I have 
betrayed the secret for which Martin was ready to die by 
torment, and given him over to be hunted like a wild beast. 
Oh! God forgive me, and God help me! " 

" Doubtless, dear young lady, He will do the first, for 
your temptations were really considerable; I, who have 
more experience, outwitted you, that was all. _ Possibly, 
also, He may do the second, though many have uttered 
that cry unheard. For my own sake, I trust that He was 
sleeping when you uttered yours. But it is your affair 
and His; I leave it to be arranged between you. Till this 
evening, Jufvrouw," and he bowed himself from the room. 

But Elsa, shamed and broken-hearted, threw herself 
upon the bed and wept. 

At mid-day she arose, hearing upon the stair the step of 
the woman who brought her food, and to hide her tear- 
stained face went to the barred lattice and looked out. 
The scene was dismal indeed, for the wind had veered sud- 
denly, the snow had ceased, and in place of it rain was fall- 



THE BRIDEGROOM AND THE BRIDE 421 

ing with a steady persistence. When the woman had gone, 
Elsa washed her face, and although her appetite turned 
from it, ate of the food, knowing how necessary it was that 
she should keep her strength. 

Another hour passed, and there came a knock on the 
door. Elsa shuddered, for she thought that Ilamiro had 
returned to torment her. Indeed it was almost a relief when, 
instead of him, appeared his son. One glance at Adrian's 
nervous, shaken face, yes, and even the sound of his uncer- 
tain step brought hope to her heart. Her woman's instinct 
told her that now she had no longer to do with the merci- 
less and terrible Eamiro, to whose eyes she was but a pretty 
pawn in a game that he must win, but with a young man 
who loved her, and whom she held, therefore, at a dis- 
advantage with one, moreover, who was harassed and 
ashamed, and upon whose conscience, therefore, she might 
work. She turned upon him, drawing herself up, and 
although she was short and Adrian tall, of a sudden he felt 
as though she towered over him. 

" Your pleasure ? " said Elsa. 

In the old days Adrian would have answered with some 
magnificent compliment, or far-fetched simile lifted from 
the pages of romancers. In truth he had thought of sev- 
eral such while, like a half -starved dog seeking a home, he 
wandered round and round the mill-house in the snow. 
But he was now far beyond all rhetoric or gallantries. 

"My father wished," he began humbly "I mean that 
I have come to speak to you about our marriage." 

Of a sudden Elsa's delicate features seemed to turn to ice, 
while, to his fancy at any rate, her brown eyes became 
fire. 

"Marriage," she said in a strange voice. "Oh! what 
an unutterable coward you must be to speak that word. 
Call what is proposed by any foul title which you will, but 
at least leave the holy name of marriage undefiled." 



422 LYSBETH 

" It is not my fault," he answered sullenly, but shrinking 
beneath her words. " You know, Elsa, that I wished to 
wed you honourably enough." 

" Yes," she broke in, ''and because I would not listen, 
because you do not please me, and you could not win me as 
a man wins a maid, you you laid a trap and kidnapped 
me, thinking to get by brute force that which my heart 
withheld. Oh! in all the Netherlands lives there another 
such an abject as Adrian called van Goorl, the base-born 
son of Ilamiro the galley slave ? " 

"I have told you that it is false," he replied furiously. 
" I had nothing to do with your capture. I knew nothing 
of it till I saw you here." 

Elsa laughed a very bitter laugh. " Spare your breath," 
she said, " for if you swore it before the face of the record- 
ing Angel I would not believe you. Remember that you 
are the man who betrayed your brother and your bene- 
factor, and then guess, if you can, what worth I put upon 
your words." 

In the bitterness of his heart Adrian groaned aloud, and 
from that groan Elsa, listening eagerly, gathered some kind 
of hope. 

"Surely," she went on, with a changed and softened 
manner, " surely you will not do this wickedness. The 
blood of Dirk van Goorl lies on your head; will you add 
mine to his ? For be sure of this, I swear it by my Maker, 
that before lam indeed a wife to you I shall be dead or may- 
hap you will be dead, or both of us. Do you understand ? " 

" I understand, but " 

" But what ? Where is the use of this wickedness ? For 
your soul's sake, refuse to have aught to do with such a 
sin." 

" But if so, my father will marry you." 

It was a chance arrow, but it went home, for of a sudden 
Elsa's strength and eloquence seemed to leave her. She 



THE BRIDEGROOM AND THE BRIDE 423 

ran to him with her hands clasped, she flung herself upon 
her knees. 

"Oh! help me to escape," she moaned, "and I Avill 
bless you all my life." 

"It is impossible," he answered. "Escape from this 
guarded place, through those leagues of melting snow ? I 
tell you that it is impossible." 

"Then," and her eyes grew wild, "then kill him and 
free me. He is a devil, he is your evil genius; it would be 
a righteous deed. Kill him and free me." 

"I should like to," answered Adrian; "I nearly did 
once, but, for my soul's sake, I can't put a sword through 
my own father; it is the most horrible of crimes. When 
I confessed " 

" Then," she broke in, "if this farce, this infamy must 
be gone through, swear at least that you will treat it as 
such, that you will respect me." 

" It is a hard thing to ask of a husband who loves you 
more than any woman in the world," he answered turning 
aside his head. 

" Kemember," she went on, with another flash of defiant 
spirit, " that if you do not, you will soon love me better 
than any woman out of the world, or perhaps we shall both 
settle what lies between us before the Judgment Seat of 
God. Will you swear ?" 

He hesitated. 

Oh! she reflected, what if he should answer "Rather 
than this I hand you over to Ramiro " ? What if he should 
think of that argument ? Happily for her, at the moment 
he did not. 

"Swear," she implored, "swear," clinging with her 
hands to the lappet of his coat <-md lifting to him her white 
and piteous face. 

"I make it an offering in expiation of my sins," he 
groaned, "you shall go free of me." 



424 LYSBETn 

Elsa uttered a sigli of relief. She put no faith whatever 
in Adrian's promises, but at the worst it would give her time. 

" I thought that I should not appeal in vain " 

" To so amusing and egregious a donkey," said liamiro's 
mocking voice speaking from the gloom of the doorway, 
which now Elsa observed for the first time had swung open 
mysteriously. 

" My dear son and daughter-in-law, how can I thank you 
sufficiently for the entertainment with which you have 
enlivened one of the most dreary afternoons I remember. 
Don't look dangerous, my boy; recall what you have just 
told this young lady, that the crime of removing a parent 
is one which, though agreeable, is not lightly to be in- 
dulged. Then, as to your future arrangements, how touch- 
ing! The soul of a Diana, I declare, and the self-sacrifice 
of a no, I fear that the heroes of antiquity can furnish 
no suitable example. And now, adieu, I go to welcome the 
gentleman you both of you so eagerly expect." 

He went, aud a minute later without speaking, for the 
situation seemed beyond words, Adrian crept down the 
stairs after him, more miserable and crushed even than he 
had crept up them half an hour before. 

Another two hours went by. Elsa was in her apartment 
with Black Meg for company, who watched her as a cat 
watches a mouse in a trap. Adrian had taken refuge in 
the place where he slept above. It was a dreary, vacuous 
chamber, that once had held stones and other machinery of 
the mill now removed, the home of spiders and half-starved 
rats, that a lean black cat hunted continually. Across its 
ceiling ran great beams, whereof the interlacing ends, 
among which sharp draughts whistled, lost themselves in 
gloom, while, with an endless and exasperating sound, as 
of a knuckle knocked upon a board, the water dripped from 
the leaky roof. 



425 

In the round living-chamber below Ramiro was alone. 
No lamp had been lit, but the glow from the great turf fire 
played upon his face as he sat there, watching, waiting, 
and scheming in the chair of black oak. Presently a noise 
from without caught his quick ear, and calling to the serv- 
ing woman to light the lamp, he went to the door, opened 
it, and saw a lantern floating towards him through the 
thick steam of falling rain. Another minute and the 
bearer of the lantern, Hague Simon, arrived, followed by 
two other men. 

" Here he is," said Simon, nodding at the figure behind 
him, a short round figure wrapped in a thick frieze cloak, 
from which water ran. " The other is the head boat- 
man." 

" Good," said Ramiro. " Tell him and his companions 
to wait in the shed without, where liquor will be sent to 
them; they may be wanted later on." 

Then followed talk and oaths, and at length the man 
retreated grumbling. 

" Enter, Father Thomas/' said Ramiro; "you have had 
a wet journey, I fear. Enter and give us your blessing." 

Before he answered the priest threw off his dripping, 
hooded cape of Frisian cloth, revealing a coarse, wicked 
face, red and blear-eyed from intemperance. 

" My blessing? " he said in a raucous voice. " Here it 
is, Sefior Ramiro, or whatever you call yourself now. Curse 
you all for bringing out a holy priest upon one of your 
devil's errands in weather which is only fit for a bald-headed 
coot to travel through. There is going to be a flood ; already 
the water is running over the banks of the dam, and it 
gathers every moment as the snow melts. I tell you there 
is going to be such a flood as we have not seen for years." 

" The more reason, Father, for getting through this little 
business quickly; but first you will wish for something to 
drink." 



426 LYSBETE 

Father Thomas nodded, and Ramiro filling a small mug 
with brandy, gave it to him. He gulped it off. 

"Another," he said. "Don't be afraid. A chosen 
vessel should also be a seasoned vessel ; at any rate this one 
is. Ah! that's better. Now then, what's the exact job ? " 

Ramiro took him apart and they talked together for a 
while. 

"Very good," said the priest at length. "I will take 
the risk and do it, for where heretics are concerned such 
things are not too closely inquired into nowadays. But 
first down with the money; no paper or promises, if you 
please." 

"Ah! you churchmen," said Ramiro, with a faint smile, 
"in things spiritual or temporal how much have we poor 
laity to learn of you! " With a sigh he produced the re- 
quired sum, then paused and added, " No; with your leave 
we will see the papers first. You have them with you ? " 

"Here they are," answered the priest, drawing some 
documents from his pocket. " But they haven't been mar- 
ried yet; the rale is, marry first, then certify. Until the 
ceremony is actually performed, anything might happen, 
you know." 

' ' Quite so, Father. Anything might happen either before 
or after; but still, with your leave, I think that in this case 
we may as well certify first; you might want to be getting 
away, and it will save so much trouble later. Will you be 
so kind as to write your certificate ? " 

Father Thomas hesitated, while Ramiro gently clinked 
the gold coins in his hand and murmured, 

" I should be sorry to think, Father, that you had taken 
such a rough journey for nothing." 

"What trick are you at now?" growled the priest. 
" Well, after all it is a mere form. Give me the names." 

Ramiro gave them ; Father Thomas scrawled them down, 
adding some words and his own signature, then said, 



THE BRIDEGROOM AND THE BRIDE 427 

" There you are, that will hold good against anyone except 
the Pope*." 

" A mere form," repeated Ramiro, " of course. But the 
world attaches so much importance to forms, so 1 think 
that we will have this one witnessed No, not by myself, 
who am an interested party by someone independent," 
and calling Hague Simon and the waiting-woman he bade 
them set their names at the foot of the documents. 

" Papers signed in advance fees paid in advance! " he 
went on, handing over the money, "and now, just one 
more glass to drink the health of the bride and bridegroom, 
also in advance. You will not refuse, nor you, worthy 
Simon, nor you, most excellent Abigail. Ah! I thought 
not, the night is cold." 

"And the brandy strong," muttered the priest thickly, 
as this third dose of raw spirit took effect upon him. 
"Now get on with the business, for I want to be out of 
this hole before the flood comes." 

" Quite so. Friends, will you be so good as to summon 
my son and the lady? The lady first, I think and all 
three of you might go to escort her. Brides sometimes 
consider it right to fain a slight reluctance you under- 
stand? On second thoughts, you need not trouble the 
Sefior Adrian. I have a few words of ante-nuptial advice 
to offer, so I will go to him." 

A minute later father and son stood face to face. Adrian 
leaped up; he shook his fist, he raved and stormed at the 
cold, impassive man before him. 

" You fool, you contemptible fool ! " said Ramiro when 
he had done. "Heavens! to think that such a creature 
should have sprung from me, a human jackass only fit to 
bear the blows and burdens of others, to fill the field with 
empty brayings, and wear himself out by kicking at the 
air. Oh! don't twist up your face at me, for I am your 
master as well as your father, however much you may hate 



428 LYSBETH 

rne. You are mine, body aud soul, don't you understand; 
a bond-slave, nothing more. You lost the only chance you 
ever had in the game when you got me down at Leyden. 
You daren't draw a sword on me again for your soul's sake, 
dear Adrian, for your soul's sake; and if you dared, I would 
run you through. Now, are you coming? " 

"No," answered Adrian. 

" Think a minute. If you don't marry her I shall, and 
before she is half an hour older; also " and he leant for- 
ward and whispered into his son's ear. 

"Oh! you devil, you devil!" Adrian gasped; then he 
moved towards the door. 

"What? Changed your mind, have you, Mr. Weather- 
cock ? Well, it is the prerogative of all feminine natures 
but, your doublet is awry, and allow me to suggest that you 
should brush your hair. There, that's better; now, come 
on. No, you go first, if you please, I'd rather have you in 
front of me." 

When they reached the room below the bride was already 
there. Gripped on either side by Black Meg and the other 
woman, white as death and trembling, but still defiant, 
stood Elsa. 

" Let's get through with this," growled the half- 
drunken, ruffian priest. "I take the willingness of the 
parties for granted." 

" I am not willing," cried Elsa. " I have been brought 
here by force. I call everyone present to witness that what- 
ever is done is against my will. I appeal to God to help 
me." 

The priest turned upon Kamiro. 

"How am I to marry them in the face of this?" he 
asked. " If only she were silent it might be done " 

" The difficulty has occurred to me," answered Ramiro. 
He made a sign, whereon Simon seized Elsa's wrists, and 
Black Meg, slipping behind her, deftly fastened a handker- 



THE BRIDEGROOM AND THE BRIDE 429 

chief over her mouth in such fashion that she was gagged, 
but could still breathe through the nostrils. 

Elsa struggled a little, then was quiet, and turned her 
piteous eyes on Adrian, who stepped forward and opened 
his lips. 

"You remember the alternative," said his father in a 
low voice, and he stopped. 

"I suppose," broke in Father Thomas, "that we may 
at any rate reckon upon the consent, or at least upon the 
silence of the Heer bridegroom." 

"Yon may reckon on his silence, Father Thomas," 
replied Ramiro. 

Then the ceremony began. They dragged Elsa to the 
table. Thrice she flung herself to the ground, and thrice 
they lifted her to her feet, but at length, weary of the 
M'eight of her body, suffered her to rest upon her knees, 
where she remained as though in prayer, gagged like some 
victim on the scaffold. It was a strange and brutal scene, 
and every detail of it burned itself into Adrian's mind. 
The round, rnde room, with its glowing fire of turfs and 
its rough oaken furniture, half in light and half in dense 
shadow, as the lamp-rays chanced to fall; the death-like, 
kneeling bride, with a white cloth across her tortured face; 
the red-chopped, hanging-lipped hedge priest gabbling 
from a book, his back almost turned that he might not see 
her attitude and struggles; the horrible, unsexed women; 
the flat-faced villain, Simon, grinning by the hearth; 
Eamiro, cynical, mocking, triumphant, and yet somewhat 
anxious, his one bright eye fixed in mingled contempt and 
amusement upon him, Adrian those were its outlines. 
There was something else also that caught and oppressed 
his sense, a sound which at the time Adrian thought he 
heard in his head alone, a soft, heavy sound with a moan 
in it, not unlike that of the wind, which grew gradually to 
a dull roar. 



430 LYSBETH 

It was over. A ring had been forced on to Elsa's un- 
willing hand and, until the thing was undone by some 
competent and authorised Court, she was in name the wife 
of Adrian. The handkerchief was unbound, her hands 
were loosed, physically, Elsa was free again, but, in that day 
and land of outrage, tied, as the poor girl knew well, by a 
chain more terrible than any that hemp or steel could fashion. 

"Congratulations! Senora," muttered Father Thomas, 
eyeing her nervously. " I fear you felt a little faint dur- 
ing the service, but a sacrament " 

"Cease your mockings, you false priest," cried Elsa. 
" Oh! let the swift vengeance of God fall upon every one 
of you, and first of all upon you, false priest." 

Drawing the ring from her finger, as she spoke she cast 
it down upon the oaken table, whence it sprang up to drop 
again and rattle itself to silence. Then with one tragic 
motion of despair, Elsa turned and fled back to her chamber. 

The red face of Father Thomas went white, and his yel- 
low teeth chattered. "A virgin's curse," he muttered, 
" and in her wedding hour. It is deadly, deadly! " and he 
crossed himself. " Misfortune always follows, and it is 
sometimes death yes, by St. Thomas, death. And you, 
you brought me here to do this wickedness, you dog, you 
galley slave! " 

"Father," broke in Ramiro, "you know I have warned 
you against it before at The Hague; sooner or later it 
always breaks up the nerves," and he nodded towards the 
flagon of spirits. "Bread and water, Father, bread and 
water for forty days, that is what I prescribe, and " 

As he spoke the door was burst open, and two men rushed 
in, their eyes starting, their very beards bristling with terror. 

"Come forth!" they cried. 

" What has chanced ? " screamed the priest. 

"The great dyke has burst hark, hark, hark! The 
floods are upon you, the mill will be swept away." 



THE BRIDEGROOM AND THE BRIDE 431 

God in Heaven it was true ! Now through the open door- 
way they heard the roar of waters, whose note Adrian had 
caught before, yes, and in the gloom appeared their foam- 
ing crest as they rushed through the great and ever-widen- 
ing breach in the lofty dyke down upon the flooded lowland. 

Father Thomas bounded through the door yelling, " The 
boat, the boat! " For a moment Ramiro thought, consid- 
ering the situation, then he said: 

" Fetch the Jufvrouw. No, not you, Adrian; she would 
die rather than come with you. You, Simon, and you, 
Meg. Swift, obey." 

They departed on their errand. 

" Men," went on Ramiro, " take this gentleman and lead 
him to the boat. Hold him if he tries to escape. I will 
follow with the lady. Go, you fool, go, there is not a sec- 
ond to be lost," and Adrian, hanging back and protesting, 
was dragged away by the boatmen. 

Now Ramiro was alone, and though, as he had said, there 
was little time to spare, again for a few moments he thought 
deeply. His face flushed and went pale; then entered into 
it a great resolve. " I don't like doing it, for it is against 
my vow, but the chance is good. She is safely married, 
and at best she would be very troublesome hereafter, and 
might bring us to justice or the galleys since others seek 
her wealth," he muttered with a shiver, adding, "as for 
the spies, we are well rid of them and their evidence." 
Then, with swift resolution, stepping to the door at the 
foot of the stairs, Ramiro shut it and shot the great iron 
bolt! 

He ran from the mill ; the raised path was already three 
feet deep in water; he could scarcely make his way along 
it. Ah! there lay the boat. Now he was in it, and now 
they were flying before the crest of a huge wave. The dam 
of the cutting had given altogether, and fed from sea and 
land at once, by snow, by rain, and by the inrush of the 



432 LYSBETH 

high tide, its waters were pouring in a measureless volume 
over the doomed marshes. 

" Where is Elsa ? " screamed Adrian. 

" I don't know. I couldn't find her," answered Ramiro. 
" Row, row for your lives ! We can take her off in the 
morning, and the priest too, if he won back. " 

At length the cold winter sun rose over the watery waste, 
calm enough now, for the floods were out, in places ten and 
fifteen feet deep. Through the mists that brooded on the 
face of them Ramiro and his crew groped their way back 
to where the Red Mill should be. It was gone ! 

There stood the brick walls of the bottom story rising 
above the flood level, but the wooden upper part had 
snapped before the first great wave when the bank went 
bodily, and afterwards been swept away by the rushing 
current, swept away with those within. 

" What is that?" said one of the boatmen, pointing to 
a dark object which floated among the tangled debris of 
sere weeds and woodwork collected against the base of the 
mill. 

They rowed to the thing. It was the body of Father 
Thomas, who must have missed his footing as he ran along 
the pathway, and fallen into deep water. 

"Um!" said Ramiro, '"a virgin's curse.' Observe, 
friends, how the merest coincidences may give rise to super- 
stition. Allow me," and, holding the dead man by one 
hand, he felt in his pockets with the other, till, with a 
smile of satisfaction, he found the purse containing the 
gold which he had paid him on the previous evening. 

" Oh! Elsa, Elsa," moaned Adrian. 

"Comfort yourself, my son," said Ramiro as the boat 
put about, leaving the dead Father Thomas bobbing up 
and down in the ripple; "you have indeed lost a wife 
whose temper gave you little prospect of happiness, but at 



THE BRIDEGROOM AND THE BRIDE 433 

least I have your marriage papers duly signed and wit- 
nessed, and you are her heir." 

He did not add that he in turn was Adrian's. But 
Adrian thought of it, and even in the midst of his shame 
and misery wondered with a shiver how long he who was 
Eamiro's next of kin was likely to adorn this world. 

Till he had something that was worth inheriting, perhaps. 



28 



CHAPTER XXVII 

WHAT ELSA SAW IN THE MOONLIGHT 

IT will be remembered that some weeks before Elsa's 
forced marriage in the Ked Mill, Foy, on their escape from 
the Gevangenhuis, had been carried upon the naked back 
of Martin to the shelter of Mother Martha's lair in the 
Haarlemer Meer. Here he lay sick many days, for the 
sword cut in his thigh festered so badly that at one time 
his life was threatened by gangrene, but, in the end, his 
own strength and healthy constitution, helped with Mar- 
tha's simples, cured him. So soon as he was strong again, 
accompanied by Martin, he travelled into Leyden, which 
now it was safe enough for him to visit, since the Spaniards 
were driven from the town. 

How his young heart swelled as, still limping a little and 
somewhat pale from recent illness, he approached the well- 
known house in the Bree Straat, the home that sheltered 
his mother and his love. Presently he would see them 
again, for the news had been brought to him that Lysbeth 
was out of danger and Elsa must still be nursing her. 

Lysbeth he found indeed, turned into an old woman by 
grief and sore sickness, but Elsa he did not find. She had 
vanished. On the previous night she had gone out to take 
the air, and returned no more. What had become of her 
none could say. All the town talked of it, and his mother 
was half-crazed with anxiety and fear, fear of the worst. 

Hither and thither they went inquiring, seeking, track- 
ing, but no trace of Elsa could they discover. She had been 
seen to pass the Morsch poort; then she disappeared. For 



WHAT ELS A SAW IN THE MOONLIGHT 435 

a while Foy was mad. At length he grew calmer and 
began to think. Drawing from his pocket the letter which 
Martha had brought to him on the night of the church- 
burning, he re-read it in the hope of finding a clue, since it 
was just possible that for private reasons Elsa might have 
set out on some journey of her own. It was a very sweet 
letter, telling him of her deep joy and gratitude at his 
escape; of the events that had happened in the town; of the 
death of his father in the Gevangenhuis, and ending thus: 

' ' Dear Foy, my betrothed, I cannot come to you because 
of your mother's sickness, for I am sure that it would be 
your wish, as it is my desire and duty, that I should stay 
to nurse her. Soon, however, I hope that you will be able 
to come to her and me. Yet, in these dreadful times who 
can tell what may happen? Therefore, Foy, whatever 
chances, I am sure you will remember that in life or in 
death I am yours only yes, to you, dead or living, you 
dead and I living, or you living and I dead, while or wher- 
ever I have sense or memory, I will be true; through life, 
through death ; through whatever may lie beyond our 
deaths, I will be true as woman may be to man. So, 
dear Foy, for this present fare you well until we meet again 
in the days to come, or after all earthly days are done with 
for you and me. My love be with you, the blessing of God 
be with you, and when you lie down at night and when 
you wake at morn, think of me and put up a prayer for 
me as your true lover Elsa does for you. Martha waits. 
Most loved, most dear, most desired, fare you well." 

Here was no hint of any journey, so if such had been 
taken it must be without Elsa's own consent. 

" Martin, what do you make of it ? " asked Foy, staring 
at him with anxious, hollow eyes. 

" Ramiro Adrian stolen away " answered Martin. 

"Why do you say that?" 

" Hague Simon was seen hanging about outside the town 



436 LYSBETH 

yesterday, and there was a strange boat upon the river. 
Last night the Jufvrouw went through the Morsch poort. 
The rest you can guess. ' ' 

" Why would they take her?" asked Foy hoarsely. 

" Who can tell ? " said Martin shrugging his great shoul- 
ders. " Yet I see two reasons. Hendrik Brant's wealth is 
supposed to be hers when it can be found; therefore, 
being a thief, Ramiro would want her. Adrian is in 
love with her; therefore, being a man, of course he would 
want her. These seem enough, the pair being what they 
are." 

"When I find them I will kill them both," said Foy, 
grinding his teeth. 

" Of course, so will I, but first we have got to find them 
and her, which is the same thing." 

"How, Martin, how?" 

"I don't know." 

" Can't yon think, man ? " 

"I am trying to, master; it's you who don't think. 
You talk too much. Be silent a while." 

"Well," asked Foy thirty seconds later, "have you 
finished thinking ? " 

" No, master, it's no use, there is nothing to think about. 
We must leave this and go back to Martha. If anyone can 
track her out she can. Here we can learn no more." 

So they returned to the Haarlemer Meer and told Martha 
their sad tale. 

" Bide here a day or two and be patient," she said; " I 
will go out and search." 

"Never," answered Foy, "we will come with you." 

" If you choose, but it will make matters more difficult. 
Martin, get ready the big boat." 

Two nights had gone by, and it was an hour or more past 
noon on the third day, the day of Elsa's forced marriage. 



WHAT ELSA SAW IN THE MOONLIGHT 437 

The snow had ceased falling and the rain had come instead, 
rain, pitiless, bitter and continual. Hidden in a nook at 
the north end of the Haarlemer Meer and almost buried 
beneath bundles of reeds, partly as a protection from the 
weather and partly to escape the eyes of Spaniards, of 
whom companies were gathering from every direction to 
besiege Haarlem, lay the big boat. In it were Red Martin 
and Foy van Goorl. Mother Martha was not there for she 
had gone alone to an inn at a distance, to gather informa- 
tion if she could. To hundreds of the boers in these parts 
she was a known and trusted friend, although many of 
them might not choose to recognise her openly, and from 
among them, unless, indeed, she had been taken right away 
to Flanders, or even to Spain, she hoped to gather tidings 
of Elsa's whereabouts. 

For two weary nights and days the Mare had been em- 
ployed thus, but as yet without a shadow of success. Foy 
and Martin sat in the boat staring at each other gloomily; 
indeed Foy's face was piteous to see. 

"What are you thinking of, master?" asked Martin 
presently. 

"I am thinking," he answered, "that even if we find 
her now it will be too late; whatever was to be done, mur- 
der or marriage, will be done." 

" Time to trouble about that when we have found her," 
said Martin, for he knew not what else to say, and added, 
" listen, I hear footsteps." 

Foy drew apart two of the bundles of reeds and looked 
out into the driving rain. 

" All right," he said, " it is Martha and a man." 

Martin let his hand fall from the hilt of the sword 
Silence, for in. those days hand and sword must be near 
together. Another minute and Martha and her companion 
were in the boat. 

" Who is this man ? " asked Foy. 



438 LYSBETH 

" He is a friend of mine named Marsh Jan." 

" Have you news?" 

" Yes, at least Marsh Jan has." 

"Speak, aiid be swift," said Foy, turning on the man 
fiercely. 

"Am I safe from vengeance?" asked Marsh Jau, who 
was a good fellow enough although he had drifted into evil 
company, looking doubtfully at Foy and Martin. 

" Have I not said so," answered Martha, " and does the 
Mare break her word ? " 

Then Marsh Jan told his tale: How he was one of the 
party that two nights before had rowed Elsa, or at least 
a young woman who answered to her description, to the 
Red Mill, not far from Velzen, and how she was in the 
immediate charge of a man and a woman who could be no 
other than Hague Simon and Black Meg. Also he told of 
her piteous appeal to the boatmen in the names of their 
wives and daughters, and at the telling of it Foy wept with 
fear and rage, and even Martha gnashed her teeth. Only 
Martin cast off the boat and began to punt her out into deep 
water. 

' 'Is that all?" asked Foy. 

" That is all, Mynheer, I know nothing more, but I can 
explain to you where the place is." 

" You can show us, you mean," said Foy. 

The man expostulated. The weather was bad, there 
would be a flood, his wife was ill and expected him, and so 
forth. Then he tried to get out of the boat, whereon, 
catching hold of him suddenly, Martin threw him into the 
stern-sheets, saying: 

" You could travel to this mill once taking with you a 
girl whom you knew to be kidnapped, now you can travel 
there again to get her out. Sit still and steer straight, or 
I will make you food for fishes." 

Then Marsh Jan professed himself quite willing to sail 



WHAT ELSA SAW IN THE MOONLIGHT 439 

to the Bed Mill, which he said they ought to reach by 
nightfall. 

All that afternoon they sailed and rowed, till, with the 
darkness, before ever the mill was in sight, the great flood 
came down upon them and drove them hither and thither, 
such a flood as had not been seen in those districts for a 
dozen years. But Marsh Jan knew his bearings well; he 
had the instinct of locality that is bred in those whose 
forefathers for generations have won a living from 
the fens, and through it all he held upon a straight 
course. 

Once Foy thought that he heard a voice calling for help 
in the darkness, but it was not repeated and they went for- 
ward. At last the sky cleared and the moon shone out 
upon such a waste of waters as Noah might have beheld 
from the ark. Only there were things floating in them that 
Noah would scarcely have seen ; hayricks, dead and drown- 
ing cattle, household furniture, and once even a coffin 
washed from some graveyard, while beyond stretched the 
dreary outline of the sand dimes. 

" The mill should be near," said Marsh Jan, " let us put 
about." So they turned, rowing with weary arms, for the 
wind had fallen. 

Let us go back a little. Elsa, on escaping from the 
scene of her mock marriage, fled to her room and bolted 
its door. A few seconds later she heard hands hammer- 
ing at it, and the voices of Hague Simon and Black Meg 
calling to her to open. She took no note, the hammer- 
ing ceased, and then it was that for the first time she be- 
came aware of a dreadful, roaring noise, a noise of many 
waters. Time passed as it passes in a nightmare, till sud- 
denly, above the dull roar, came sharp sounds as of wood 
cracking and splitting, and Elsa felt that the whole fabric 
of the mill had tilted. Beneath the pressure of the flood it 



440 LYSBETU 

had given where it was weakest, at its narrow waist, and 
now its red cap hung over like a wind-laid tree. 

Terror took hold of Elsa, and running to the door she 
opened it hoping to escape down the stairs. Behold! water 
was creeping up them, she could see it by the lantern in her 
hand her retreat was cut off. But there were other stairs 
leading to the top storey of the mill that now lay at a steep 
angle, and along these she climbed, since the water was 
pouring through her doorway and there was nowhere else 
to go. In the very roof of the place was a manhole with a 
rotten hatch. She passed through this, to find herself upon 
the top of the mill just where one of the great naked arms 
of the sails projected from it. Her lantern was blown out 
by now, but she clung to the arm, and became aware that 
the wooden cap of the structure, still anchored to its brick 
foundation, lay upon its side rocking to and fro like a boat 
upon an angry sea. The water was near her; that she 
knew by its seethe and rush, although she could not see it, 
but as yet it did not even wet her feet. 

The hours went by, how many, she never learned, till at 
length the clouds cleared ; the moon became visible, and by 
its light she saw an awful scene. Everywhere around was 
water; it lapped within a yard, and it was rising still. 
Now Elsa saw that in the great beam she clasped were 
placed short spokes for the use of those who set the sails 
above. Up these she climbed as best she might, till she 
was able to pass her body between two of the vanes and 
support her breast upon the flat surface of one of them, as 
a person does who leans out of a window. From her win- 
dow there was something to see. Quite near to her, but 
separated by fifteen or twenty feet of yellow frothing water, 
a little portion of the swelling shape of the mill stood 
clear of the flood. To this foam-lapped island clung two 
human beings Hague Simon and Black Meg. They saw 
her also and screamed for help, but she had none to give. 



WHAT ELSA SAW JN THE MOONLIGHT 441 

Surely it was a dream nothing BO awful could happen out- 
side a dream. 

The fabric of the mill tilted more and more; the space to 
which the two vile creatures hung grew less and less. There 
was no longer room for both of them. They began to 
quarrel, to curse and jibber at each other, their fierce, bestial 
faces not an inch apart as they crouched there on hands 
and knees. The water rose a little, they were kneeling in 
it now, and the man, putting down his bald head, butted at 
the woman, almost thrusting her from her perch. But she 
was strong and active, she struggled back again; she did 
more, with an eel-like wriggle she climbed upon his back, 
weighing him down. He strove to shake her off but could 
not, for on that heaving, rolling surface he dared not loose 
his hand-grip, so he turned his flat and horrid face, and, 
seizing her leg between his teeth, bit and worried at it. In 
her pain and rage Meg screeched aloud that was the cry 
which Foy had heard. Then suddenly she drew a knife 
from her bosom Elsa saw it flash in the moonlight and 
stabbed downwards once, twice, thrice. 

Elsa shut her eyes. When she opened them again the 
woman was alone upon the little patch of red boarding, her 
body splayed out over it like that of a dead frog. So she 
lay a while till suddenly the cap of the Red Mill dipped 
slowly like a lady who makes a Court curtsey, and she van- 
ished. It rose again and Meg was still there, moaning in 
her terror and water running from her dress. Then again 
it dipped, this time more deeply, and when the patch of 
rusty boarding slowly reappeared, it was empty. N~o, not 
quite, for clinging to it, yowling and spitting, was the half- 
wild black cat which Elsa had seen wandering about the 
mill. But of Black Meg there was no trace. 

It was dreadfully cold up there hanging to the sail-bar, 
for now that the rain had finished, it began to freeze. In- 
deed, had it not chanced that Elsa was dressed in her warm 



442 LYSBETH 

winter gown with fur upon it, and dry from her head to 
her feet, it is probable that she would have fallen off and 
perished in the water. As it was gradually her body became 
numb and her senses faded. She seemed to know that all 
this matter of her forced marriage, of the flood, and of the 
end of Simon and Meg, was nothing but a dream, a very 
evil nightmare from which she would awake presently to 
find herself snug and warm in her own bed in the Bree 
Straat. Of course it must be a nightmare, for look, there, 
on the bare patch of boarding beneath, the hideous struggle 
repeated itself. There lay Hague Simon gnawing at his 
wife's foot, only his fat, white face was gone, and in place 
of it he wore the head of a cat, for she, the watcher, could 
see its glowing eyes fixed upon her. And Meg look how 
her lean limbs gripped him round the body. Listen to the 
thudding noise as the great knife fell between his shoulders. 
And now, see she was growing tall, she had become a 
giantess, her face shot across the gulf of water and swam 
upwards through the shadows till it was within a foot of 
her. Oh! she must fall, but first she would scream for help 
surely the dead themselves could hear that cry. Better 
not have uttered it, it might bring Ramiro back; better go 
to join the dead. What did the voice say, Meg's voice, but 
how changed ? That she was not to be afraid ? That the 
thudding was the sound of oars not of knife thrusts? This 
would be Ramiro's boat coming to seize her. Of him and 
Adrian she could bear no more; she would throw herself 
into the water and trust to God. One, two, three then 
utter darkness. 

Elsa became aware that light was shining about her, also 
that somebody was kissing her upon the face and lips. A 
horrible doubt struck her that it might be Adrian, and she 
opened her eyes ever so little to look. No, no, how very 
strange, it was not Adrian, it was Foy ! Well, doubtless 
this must be all part of her vision, and as in dream or out 



WHAT ELS A SAW IN THE MOONLIGHT 443 

of it Foy had a perfect right to kiss her if lie chose, she 
saw no reason to interfere. Now she seemed to hear a 
familiar voice, that of Red Martin, asking someone how 
long it would take them to make Haarlem with this wind, 
to which another voice answered, " About three-quarters of 
an hour." 

It was very odd, and why did he say Haarlem and not 
Leyden? Next the second voice, Avhich also seemed 
familiar, said: 

" Look out, Foy, she's coming to herself." Then some- 
one poured wine down her throat, whereupon, unable to 
bear this bewilderment any longer, Elsa sat up and opened 
her eyes wide, to see before her Foy, and none other than 
Foy in the flesh. 

She gasped, and began to sink back again with joy and 
weakness, whereon he cast his arms about her and drew her 
to his breast. Then she remembered everything. 

"Oh! Foy, Foy," she cried, "you must not kiss me." 

"Why not?" he asked. 

" Because because I am married." 

Of a sudden his happy face became ghastly. " Mar- 
ried! " he stammered. " Who to ? " 

"To your brother, Adrian." 

He stared at her in amazement, then asked slowly: 

" Did you run away from Leyden to marry him ? " 

" How dare you ask such a question ? " replied Elsa with 
a flash of spirit. 

" Perhaps, then, you would explain ? " 

" What is there to explain ? I thought that you knew. 
They dragged me away, and last night, just before the flood 
burst, I was gagged and married by force." 

"Oh! Adrian, my friend," groaned Foy, "wait till I 
catch you, my friend Adrian." 

"To be just," explained Elsa, "I don't think Adrian 
wanted to marry me much, but he had to choose between 



444 LYSBETH 

marrying me himself or seeing his father Ramiro marry 
me." 

" So he sacrificed himself the good, kind-hearted nwn," 
interrupted Foy, grinding his teeth. 

" Yes," said Elsa. 

"And where is your self-denying oh! I can't say the 
word.-' 

" I don't know. I suppose that he and Ramiro escaped 
in the boat, or perhaps he was drowned.'' 

" In which case you are a widow sooner that you could 
have expected," said Foy more cheerfully, edging himself 
towards her. 

But Elsa moved a little away and Foy saw with a sinking 
of the heart that, however distasteful it might be to her, 
clearly she attached some weight to this marriage. 

" I do not know," she answered, " how can I tell ? I sup- 
pose that we shall hear sometime, and then, if he is still 
alive, I must sot to work to get free of him. But, till then, 
Foy," she added, warningly, " I suppose that I am his wife 
in law, although I will never speak to him again. Where 
are we going ? " 

"To Haarlem. The Spaniards are closing in upon the 
city, and we dare not try to break through their lines. 
Those are Spanish boats behind us. But eat and drink a 
little, Elsa, then tell us your story." 

" One question first, Foy. How did you find me ? " 

"We heard a woman scream twice, once far away and 
once near at hand, and rowing to the sound, saw someone 
hanging to the arm of an overturned windmill only three 
or four feet above the water. Of course we knew that you 
had been taken to the mill; that man there told us. Do 
you remember him ? But at first we could not find it in 
the darkness and the flood." 

Then, after she had swallowed something, Elsa told her 
story, while the three of them clustered round her forward 



WHAT ELS A SAW IN THE MOONLIGHT 445 

of the sail, aud Marsh Jan managed the helm. When she 
had finished it, Martin whispered to Foy, and as though 
by a common impulse all four of them kneeled down upon 
the boards in the bottom of the boat, and returned thanks 
to the Almighty that this maiden, quite unharmed, had 
been delivered out of such manifold and terrible dangers, 
and this by the hands of her own friends and of the man 
to whom she was affianced. When they had finished their 
service of thanksgiving, which was as simple as it was sol- 
emn and heartfelt, they rose, and now Elsa did not forbid 
that Foy should hold her hand. 

" Say, sweetheart," he asked, " is it true that you think 
anything of this forced marriage ? " 

" Hear me before you answer," broke in Martha. "It 
is no marriage at all, for none can be wed without the con- 
sent of their own will, and you gave no such consent." 

" It is no marriage," echoed Martin, " and if it be, and 
I live, then the sword shall cut its knot. " 

"It is no marriage," said Foy, "for although we have 
not stood together before the altar, yet our hearts are wed, 
so how can you be made the wife of another man ? " 

"Dearest," replied Elsa, when they had all spoken, "I 
too am sure that it is no marriage, yet a priest spoke the 
marriage words over me, and a ring was thrust upon my 
hand, so, to the law, if there be any law left in the 
Netherlands, I am perhaps in some sort a wife. Therefore, 
before I can become wife to you these facts must be made 
public, and I must appeal to the law to free me, lest in days 
to come others should be troubled." 

" And if the law cannot, or will not, Elsa, what 
then?" 

"Then, dear, our consciences being clean, we will be 
a law to ourselves. But first we must wait a while. Are 
you satisfied now, Foy ? " 

"No," answered Foy sulkily, "for it IB monstrous that 



m LYSBETH 

such devil's work should keep us apart even for an hour. 
Yet in this, as in all, I will obey you, dear." 

"Marrying and giving in marriage!" broke in Martha 
in a shrill voice. " Talk no more of such things, for there 
is other work before us. Look yonder, girl, what do you 
see?" and she pointed to the dryland. "The hosts of 
the Amalekites marching in their thousands to slaughter us 
and our brethren, the children of the Lord. Look behind 
you, what do you see? The ships of the tyrant sailing up 
to encompass the city of the children of the Lord. It is 
the day of death and desolation, the day of Armageddon, 
and ere the sun sets red upon it many a thousand must 
pass through the gates of doom, we, mayhap, among them. 
Then up with the flag of freedom; out with the steel of 
truth, gird on the buckler of righteousness, and snatch the 
shield of hope. Fight, fight for the liberty of the land 
that bore you, for the memory of Christ, the King who 
died for you, for the faith to which you are born; fight, 
fight, and when the fray is done, then, and not before, 
think of peace and love. 

" Nay, children, look not so fearful, for I, the mad mere- 
wife, tell you, by the Grace of God, that you have nought 
to fear. Who preserved you in the torture den, Foy van 
Goorl ? What hand was it that held your life and honour 
safe when you sojourned among devils in the Red Mill yon- 
der and kept your head above the waters of the flood, Elsa 
Brant ? You know well, and I, Martha, tell you that this 
same hand shall hold you safe until the end. Yes, I know 
it, I know it; thousands shall fall upon your right hand 
and tens of thousands upon your left, but you shall live 
through the hunger; the arrows of the pestilence shall pass 
you by, the sword of the wicked shall not harm yon. For 
me it is otherwise, at length my doom draws near and I am 
well content; but for you twain, Foy and Elsa, I foretell 
many years of earthly joy." 



WHAT ELS A SAW IN THE MOONLIGHT 447 

Thus spoke Martha, and it seemed to those who watched 
her that her wild, disfigured face shone with a light of 
inspiration, nor did they who knew her story, and still 
believed that the spirit of prophecy could open the eyes of 
chosen seers, deem it strange that vision of the things to 
be should visit her. At the least they took comfort from 
her words, and for a while were no more afraid. 

Yet they had much to fear. By a fateful accident they 
had been delivered from great dangers only to fall into 
dangers greater still, for as it chanced, on this tenth of 
December, 1572, they sailed straight into the grasp of the 
thousands of the Spanish armies which had been drawn 
like a net round the doomed city of Haarlem. There was 
no escape for them; nothing that had not wings could pass 
those lines of ships and soldiers. Their only refuge was 
the city, and in that city they must bide till the struggle, 
one of the most fearful of all that hideous war, was ended. 
But at least they had this comfort, they would face the woe 
together, and with them were two who loved them, Martha, 
the " Spanish Scourge," and Eed Martin, the free Frisian, 
the mighty man of war whom God had appointed to them 
as a shield of defence. 

So they smiled on each other, these two lovers of long 
ago, and sailed bravely on to the closing gates of Haarlem. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

ATOKEMEKT 

SEVEN months had gone by, seven of the most dreadful 
months ever lived through by human beings. For all this 
space of time, through the frosts and snows and fogs of 
winter, through the icy winds of spring, and now deep into 
the heart of summer, the city of Haarlem had been closely 
beleaguered by an army of thirty thousand Spaniards, most 
of them veteran troops under the command of Don Fred- 
eric, the son of Alva, and other generals. Against this 
disciplined host were opposed the little garrison of four 
thousand Hollanders and Germans aided by a few Scotch 
and English soldiers, together with a population of about 
twenty thousand old men, women and children. From 
day to day, from week to week, from month to month, the 
struggle was waged between these unequal forces, marked 
on either side by the most heroic efforts and by cruelties 
that would strike our age as monstrous. For in those times 
the captive prisoner of war could expect no mercy; indeed, 
he was fortunate if he were not hung from a gibbet by the 
leg to die slowly within eyeshot of his friends. 

There were battles without number, men perished in 
hecatombs; among the besieging armies alone over twelve 
thousand lost their lives, so that the neighbourhood of 
Haarlem became one vast graveyard, and the fish in the 
lake were poisoned by the dead. Assault, sortie, ambus- 
cade, artifice of war ; combats to the death upon the ice 
between skate-shod soldiers ; desperate sea fights, attempts 
to storm ; the explosion of mines and counter-mines that 



ATONEMENT 449 

brought death to hundreds all these became the familiar 
incidents of daily life. 

Then there were other horrors ; cold from insufficient 
fuel, pestilences of various sorts such as always attend a 
siege, and, worst of all for the beleaguered, hunger. Week 
by week as the summer aged, the food grew less and less, 
till at length there was nothing. The weeds that grew in 
the street, the refuse of tanneries, the last ounce of offal, 
the mice and the cats, all had been devoured. On the lofty 
steeple of St. Bavon for days and days had floated a black 
flag to tell the Prince of Orange in Leyden that below it 
was despair as black. The last attempt at succour had been 
made. Batenburg had been defeated and slain, together 
with the Seigneurs of Clotingen and Carloo, and five or six 
hundred men. Now there was no more hope. 

Desperate expedients were suggested : That the women, 
children, aged and sick should be left in the city, while the 
able-bodied men cut a way through the battalions of their 
besiegers. On these non-combatants it was hoped that the 
Spaniard would have mercy as though the Spaniard could 
have mercy, he who afterwards dragged the wounded and 
the ailing to the door of the hospital and there slaughtered 
them in cold blood; aye, and here and elsewhere, did other 
things too dreadful to write down. Says the old chroni- 
cler, "But this being understood by the women, they 
assembled all together, making the most pitiful cries and 
lamentations that could be heard, the which would have 
moved a heart of flint, so as it was not possible to abandon 
them." 

Next another plan was formed : that all the females and 
helpless should be set in the centre of a square of the fight- 
ing men, to march out and give battle to the foe till every- 
one was slain. Then the Spaniards hearing this and grow- 
ing afraid of what these desperate men might do, fell back 
on guile. If they would surrender, the citizens of Haarlem 
29 



450 LYSBETH 

were told, and pay two hundred and forty thousand florins, 
no punishment should be inflicted. So, having neither food 
nor hope, they listened to the voice of the tempter and sur- 
rendered, they who had fought until their garrison of four 
thousand was reduced to eighteen hundred men. 

It was noon and past on the fatal twelfth of July. The 
gates were open, the Spaniards, those who were left alive 
of them, Don Frederic at their head, with drums beating, 
banners flying, and swords sharpened for murder, were 
marching into the city of Haarlem. In a deep niche 
between two great brick piers of the cathedral were gath- 
ered four people whom we know. War and famine had 
left them all alive, yet they had borne their share of both. 
In every enterprise, however desperate, Foy and Martin 
had marched, or stood, or watched side by side, and well 
did the Spaniards know the weight of the great sword 
Silence and the red-headed giant who wielded it. Mother 
Martha, too, had not been idle. Throughout the siege she 
had served as the lieutenant of the widow Hasselaer, who 
with a band of three hundred women fought day and night 
alongside of their husbands and brothers. Even Elsa, who 
although she was too delicate and by nature timid and 
unfitted to go out to battle, had done her part, for she 
laboured at the digging of mines and the building of walls 
till her soft hands were rough and scarred. 

How changed they were. Foy, whose face had been so 
youthful, looked now like a man on the wrong side of mid- 
dle age. The huge Martin might have been a great skele- 
ton on which hung clothes, or rather rags and a rent bull's 
hide, with his blue eyes shining in deep pits beneath the 
massive, projecting skull. Elsa too had become quite 
small, like a child. Her sweet face was no longer pretty, 
only pitiful, and all the roundness of her figure had van- 
ished she might have been an emaciated boy. Of the 



ATONEMENT 451 

four of them Martha the Mare, who was dressed like a 
man, showed the least change. Indeed, except that now 
her hair was snowy, that her features were rather more 
horse-like, that the yellow, lipless teeth projected even fur- 
ther, and the thin nervous hands had become almost like 
those of an Egyptian mummy, she was much as she always 
had been. 

Martin leaned upon the great sword and groaned. 
"Curses on them, the cowards," he muttered; "why did 
they not let us go out and die fighting ? Fools, mad fools, 
who would trust to the mercy of the Spaniard." 

"Oh! Foy," said Elsa, throwing her thin arms about 
his neck, " you will not let them take me, will you ? If it 
comes to the worst, you will kill me, won't you ? Other- 
wise I must kill myself, and Foy, I am a coward, I am 
afraid to do that." 

" I suppose so," he answered in a harsh, unnatural voice, 
' ' but oh ! God, if Thou art, have pity upon her. Oh ! G-od 
have pity." 

"Blaspheme not, doubt not! " broke in the shrill voice 
of Martha. " Has it not been as I told you last winter in 
the boat ? Have you not been protected, and shall you not 
be protected to the end? Only blaspheme not, doubt 
not!" 

The niche in which they were standing was out of sight 
of the great square and those who thronged it, but as 
Martha spoke a band of the victorious Spaniards, seven or 
eight of them, came round the corner and caught sight of 
the party in the nook. 

" There's a girl," said the sergeant in command of them, 
" who isn't bad looking. Pull her out, men." 

Some fellows stepped forward to do his bidding. Now 
Foy went mad. He did not kill Elsa as she had prayed 
him, he flew straight at the throat of the brute who had 
spoken, and next instant his sword was standing out a foot 



452 LYSBETI1 

behind his neck. Then after him, with a kind of low cry, 
came Martin, plying the great blade Silence, and Martha 
after him with her long knife. It was all over in a min- 
ute, but before it was done there were five men down, three 
dead and two sore wounded. 

" A tithe and an offering! " muttered Martha as, bound- 
ing forward, she bent over the wounded men, and their 
comrades fled round the corner of the cathedral. 

There was a minute's pause. The bright summer sun- 
light shone upon the faces and armour of the dead Span- 
iards, upon the naked sword of Foy, who stood over Elsa 
crouched to the ground in a corner of the niche, her face 
hidden in her hands, upon the terrible blue eyes of Martin 
alight with a dreadful fire of rage. Then there came the 
sound of marching men, and a company of Spaniards 
appeared before them, and at their head Ramiro and 
Adrian called van Groorl. 

"There they are, captain," said a soldier, one of those 
who had fled; " shall we shoot them ? " 

Ramiro looked, carelessly enough at first, then again a 
long, scrutinising look. So he had caught them at last ! 
Months ago he had learned that Elsa had been rescued from 
the Red Mill by Foy and Martin, and now, after much 
seeking, the birds were in his net. 

"No," he said, "I think not. Such desperate charac- 
ters must be reserved for separate trial." 

" Where can they be kept, captain ? " asked the sergeant 
sulkily. 

" I observed, friend, that the house which my son and 
I have taken as our quarters has excellent cellars ; they can 
be imprisoned there for the present that is, except the 
young lady, whom the Seflor Adrian will look after. As 
it chances, she is his wife." 

At this the soldiers laughed openly. 

"I repeat his wife, for whom he has been searching 



ATONEMENT 453 

these many months/' said Ramiro, "and, therefore, to be 
respected. Do you understand, men ? " 

Apparently they did understand, at least no one made 
any answer. Their captain, as they had found, was not a 
man who loved argument. 

"Now, then, you fellows," went on Ramiro, "give up 
your arms." 

Martin thought a while. Evidently he was wondering 
whether it would not be best to rush at them and die fight- 
ing. At that moment, as he said afterwards indeed, the 
old saying came into his mind, " A game is not lost until 
it is won," and remembering that dead men can never have 
another chance of winning games, he gave up the sword. 

"Hand that to me," said Ramiro. "It is a curious 
weapon to which I have taken a fancy." 

So sword Silence was handed to him, and he slung it over 
his shoulder. Foy looked at the kneeling Elsa, and he 
looked at his sword. Then an idea struck him, and he looked 
at the face of Adrian, his brother, whom he had last seen 
when the said Adrian ran to warn him and Martin at the fac- 
tory, for though he knew that he was fighting with his father 
among the Spaniards, during the siege they had never met. 
Eveu then, in that dire extremity, with a sudden flash of 
thought he wondered how it happened that Adrian, being 
the villain that he was, had taken the trouble to come and 
warn them yonder in Leyden, thereby giving them time to 
make a very good defence in the shot tower. 

Foy looked up at his brother. Adrian was dressed in the 
uniform of a Spanish officer, with a breast-plate over his 
quilted doublet, and a steel cap, from the front of which 
rose a frayed and weather-worn plume of feathers. The 
face had changed; there was none of the old pomposity 
about those handsome features; it looked worn and cowed, 
like that of an animal which has been trained to do tricks 
by hunger and the use of the whip. Yet, through all 



454 LYSBETH 

the shame and degradation, Foy seemed to catch the glint 
of some kind of light, a light of good desire shining behind 
that piteous mask, as the sun sometimes shines through a 
sullen cloud. Could it be that Adrian was not quite so 
bad after all ? That he was, in fact, the Adrian that he, 
Foy, had always believed him to be, vain, silly, passionate, 
exaggerated, born to be a tool and think himself the mas- 
ter, but beneath everything, well-meaning? Who could 
say ? At the worst, too, was it not better that Elsa should 
become the wife of Adrian than that her life should cease 
there and then, and by her lover's hand '? 

These things passed through his brain as the lightning 
passes through the sky. In an instant his mind was made 
up and Foy flung down his sword at the feet of a soldier. 
As he did so his eyes met the eyes of Adrian, and to his 
imagination they seemed to be full of thanks and promise. 

They took them all; with gibes and blows the soldiers 
haled them away through the tumult and the agony of the 
fallen town and its doomed defenders. Out of the rich 
sunlight they led them into a house that still stood not 
greatly harmed by the cannon-shot, but a little way from 
the shattered Ravelin and the gate which had been the 
scene of such fearful conflict a house that was the home 
of one of the wealthiest merchants in Haarlem. Here Foy 
and Elsa were parted. She struggled to his arms, whence 
they tore her and dragged her away up the stairs, but 
Martin, Martha and Foy were thrust into a dark cellar, 
locked in and left. 

A while later the door of the cellar was unbarred and 
some hand, they could not see whose, passed through it 
water and food, good food such as they had not tasted for 
months ; meat and bread and dried herrings, more than 
they could eat of them. 

"Perhaps it is poisoned," said Foy, smelling at it 
hungrily. 



ATONEMENT 455 

" What need to take the trouble to poison us ? " answered 
Martin. " Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." 

So like starving animals they devoured the food with 
thankfulness and then they slept, yes, in the midst of all 
their misery and doubts they slept. 

It seemed but a few minutes later in fact it was eight 
hours when the door opened again and there entered 
Adrian carrying a lantern in his hand. 

"Foy, Martin," he said, "get up and follow me if you 
would save your lives." 

Instantly they were wide awake. 

"Follow you you ? " stammered Foy in a choked voice. 

" Yes," Adrian answered quietly. " Of course you may 
not escape, but if you stop here what chance have you ? 
Ramiro, my father, will be back presently and then " 

"It is madness to trust ourselves to you," interrupted 
Martin, and Adrian seemed to wince at the contempt in 
his voice. 

" I knew that you would think that," he answered hum- 
bly, " but what else is to be done ? I can pass you out of 
the city, I have made a boat ready for you to escape in, all 
at the risk of my own life ; what more can I do ? Why do 
you hesitate?" 

" Because we do not believe you," said Foy; "besides, 
there is Elsa. I will not go without Elsa." 

" I have thought of that," answered Adrian. " Elsa is 
here. Come, Elsa, show yourself." 

Then from the stairs Elsa crept into the cellar, a new 
Elsa, for she, too, had been fed, and in her eyes there shone 
a light of hope. A wild jealousy filled Foy's heart. Why 
did she look thus ? But she, she ran to him, she flung her 
arms about his neck and kissed him, and Adrian did noth- 
ing, he only turned his head aside. 

"Foy," she gasped, " he is honest after all; he has only 
been unfortunate. Come quickly, there is a chance for us; 



456 LYSJ3ETH 

come before that devil returns. Now he is at a council of 
the officers settling with Don Frederic who are to be killed, 
but soon he will be back, and then " 

So they hesitated no more, but went. 

They passed out of the house, none stopping them the 
guard had gone to the sack. At the gate by the ruined 
Eavelin there stood a sentry, but the man was careless, or 
drunken, or bribed, who knows? At least, Adrian gave 
him a pass- word, and, nodding his head, he let them by. 
A few minutes later they were at the Mere side, and there 
among some reeds lay the boat. 

" Enter and be gone," said Adrian. 

They scrambled into the boat and took the oars, while 
Martha began to push off. 

" Adrian," said Elsa, " what is to become of you? " 

" Why do you trouble about that ? " he asked with a bit- 
ter laugh. " I go back to my death, my blood is the price 
of your freedom. Well, I owe it you." 

"Oh! no," she cried, " come with us." 

"Yes," echoed Foy, although again that bitter pang of 
jealousy gripped his heart, " come with us brother." 

"Do you really mean it?" Adrian asked, hesitating. 
"Think, I might betray you." 

"If so, young man, why did you not do it before?" 
growled Martin, and stretching out his great, bony arm he 
gripped him by the collar and dragged him into the boat. 

Then they rowed away. 

" Where are we going ? " asked Martin. 

" To Leyden, I suppose," said Foy, " if we can get there, 
which, without a sail or weapons, seems unlikely." 

" I have put some arms in the boat," interrupted Adrian, 
" the best I could get," and from a locker he drew out a 
common heavy axe, a couple of Spanish swords, a knife, 
a smaller axe, a cross-bow and some bolts. 

"Not so bad," said Martin, rowing with his left hand 



A TONEMENT 457 

as he handled the big axe with his right, " but I wish that 
I had my sword Silence, which that accursed Ramiro took 
from me and hung about his neck. I wonder why he 
troubled himself with the thing ? It is too long for a man 
of his inches." 

" I don't know," said Adrian, " but when last I saw him 
he was working at its hilt with a chisel, which seemed 
strange. He always wanted that sword. During the siege 
he offered a large reward to any soldier who could kill you 
and bring it to him." 

"Working at the hilt with a chisel?" gasped Martin. 
" By Heaven, I had forgotten! The map, the map ! Some 
wicked villain must have told him that the map of the 
treasure was there that is why he wanted the sword." 

"Who could have told him?" asked Foy. "It was 
only known to you and me and Martha, and we are not of 
the sort to tell. What ? Give away the secret of Hendrik 
Brant's treasure which he could die for and we were sworn 
to keep, to save our miserable lives? Shame upon the 
thought!" 

Martha heard, and looked at Elsa, a questioning look 
beneath which the poor girl turned a fiery red, though by 
good fortune in that light none could see her blushes. 
Still, she must speak lest the suspicion should lie on 
others. 

" I ought to have told you before," she said in a low 
voice, "but I forgot I mean that I have always been so 
dreadfully ashamed. It was I who betrayed the secret of 
the sword Silence." 

" You ? How did you know it ? " asked Foy. 

" Mother Martha told me on the night of the church 
burning after you escaped from Ley den." 

Martin grunted. "One woman to trust another, and at 
her age too; what a fool! " 

"Fool yourself, you thick-headed Frisian," broke in 



458 LYSBETll 

Martha angrily, " where did you learn to teach your betters 
wisdom? I told the Jufvrouw because I knew that we 
might all of us be swept away, and I thought it well that 
then she should know where to look for a key to the 
treasure." 

"A woman's kind of reason," answered Martin imper- 
turbably, "and a bad one at that, for if we had been fin- 
ished off she must have found it difficult to get hold of the 
sword. But all this is done with. The point is, why did 
the Jufvrouw tell Ramiro ? " 

" Because I am a coward," answered Elsa with a sob. 
" You know, Foy, I always was a coward, and I never shall 
be anything else. I told him to save myself." 

" From what ? " hesitated Foy. 

" From being married." 

Adrian winced palpably, and Foy, noting it, could not 
resist pushing the point. 

"From being married? But I understood doubtless 
Adrian will explain the thing," he added grimly "that 
you were forced through some ceremony." 

"Yes," answered Elsa feebly, "I I was. I tried to 
buy myself off by telling Ramiro the secret, which will show 
you all how mad I was with terror at the thought of this 
hateful marriage " here a groan burst from the lips of 
Adrian, and something like a chuckle from those of Red 
Martin. " Oh! I am so sorry," went on Elsa in confusion; 
" I am sure that I did not wish to hurt Adrian's feelings, 
especially after he has been so good to us." 

" Never mind Adrian's feelings and his goodness, but go 
on with the story," interrupted Foy. 

" There isn't much more to tell. Ramiro swore before 
God that if I gave him the clue he would let me go, and 
then then, well, then, after I had fallen into the pit and 
disgraced myself, he said that it was not sufficient, and that 
the marriage must take place." 



ATONEMENT 459 

At this both Foy and Martin laughed outright. Yes, 
even there they laughed. 

"Why, you silly child," said Foy, "what else did you 
expect him to say ? " 

"Oh! Martin, do you forgive me?" said Elsa. "Im- 
mediately after I had done it I knew how shameful it was, 
and that he would try to hunt you down, and that is why 
I have been afraid to tell you ever since. But I pray you 
believe me; I only spoke because, between shame and fear, 
I did not know right from wrong. Do you forgive me ? " 

" Lady," answered the Frisian, smiling in his slow fash- 
ion, " if I had been there unknown to Ramiro, and you had 
offered him this head of mine on a dish as a bribe, not only 
would I have forgiven you but I would have said that you 
did right. You are a maid, and you had to protect your- 
self from a very dreadful thing; therefore who can blame 
you ? " 

" I can," said Martha. " Ramiro might have torn me 
to pieces with red-hot pincers before I told him." 

" Yes," said Martin, who felt that he had a debt to pay, 
" Ramiro might, but I doubt whether he would have gone 
to that trouble to persuade you to take a husband. No, 
don't be angry. ' Frisian thick of head, Frisian free of 
speech,' goes the saying." 

Not being able to think of any appropriate rejoinder, 
Martha turned again upon Elsa. 

"Your father died for that treasure," she said, "and 
Dirk van Goorl died for it, and your lover and his serving- 
man there went to the torture-den for it, and I well, I 
have done a thing or two. But you, girl, why, at the first 
pinch, you betray the secret. But, as Martin says, I was 
fool enough to tell you." 

" Oh ! you are hard," said Elsa, beginning to weep under 
Martha's bitter reproaches; "but you forget that at least 
none of you were asked to marry oh! I mustn't say that. 



400 LYSBETU 

I mean to become the wife of one man; " then her eyes fell 
upon Foy and an inspiration seized her; here, at least, was 
one of whom she could make a friend " when you happen 
to be very much in love with another." 

" Of course not," said Foy, " there is no need for you to 
explain." 

"I think there is a great deal to explain," went on 
Martha, " for you cannot fool me with pretty words. But 
now, hark you, Foy van Goorl, what is to be done ? We 
have striven hard to save that treasure, all of us; is it to 
be lost at the last ?" 

"Aye," echoed Martin, growing very serious, "is it to 
be lost at the last ? Remember what the worshipful Hen- 
drik Brant said to us yonder on that night at The Hague 
that he believed that in a day to come thousands and tens 
of thousands of our people would bless the gold he en- 
trusted to us." 

"I remember it all," answered Foy, " and other things 
too; his will, for instance," and he thought of his father 
and of those hours which Martin and he had spent in the 
Gevangenhnis. Then he looked up at Martha and said 
briefly: "Mother, though they call you mad, you are the 
wisest among us; what is your counsel ? " 

She pondered awhile and answered: "This is certain, 
that so soon as Ramiro finds that we have escaped, having 
the key to it, he will take boat and sail to the place where 
the barrels are buried, knowing well that otherwise we 
shall be off with them. Yes, I tell you that by dawn, 
or within an hour of it, he will be there," and she 
stopped. 

"You mean," said Foy, "that we ought to be there 
before him." 

Martha nodded and answered, "If we can, but I think 
that at best there must be a fight for it." 

"Yes," said Martin, "a fight. Well, I should like 



ATONEMENT 461 

another fight with Kamiro. That fork-tougucd adder has 
got my sword, and I want to get it back again." 

" Oh," broke in Elsa, " is there to be more fighting? I 
hoped that at last we were safe, and going straight to 
Leyden, where the Prince is. I hate this bloodshed ; I tell 
you, Foy, it frightens me to death ; I believe that I shall 
die of it." 

" You hear what she says ? " asked Foy. 

"We hear," answered Martha. "Take no heed of her, 
the child has suffered much, she is weak and squeamish. 
Now I, although I believe that my death lies before me, 
I say, go on and fear not." 

" But I do take heed," said Foy. " Not for all the treas- 
ures in the world shall Elsa be put in danger again if she 
does not wish it; she shall decide, and she alone." 

"How good you arc to me," she murmured, then she 
mused a moment. "Foy," she said, "will you promise 
something to me ? " 

" After your experience of Kamiro's oaths I wonder that 
you ask," he answered, trying to be cheerful. 

" Will you promise," she went on, taking no note, " that 
if I say yes and we go, not to Leyden, but to seek the 
treasure, and live through it, that you will take me away 
from this land of bloodshed and murder and torments, to 
some country where folk may live at peace, and see no one 
killed, except it be now and again an evil-doer? It is 
much to ask, but oh! Foy, will you promise? " 

"Yes, I promise," said Foy, for he, too, was weary of 
this daily terror. Who would not have been that had 
passed through the siege of Haarlem ? 

Foy was steering, but now Martha slipped aft and took 
the tiller from his hand. For a moment she studied the 
stars that grew clearer in the light of the sinking moon, 
then shifted the helm a point or two to port and sat 
still. 



462 LYSBETH 

'* I am hungry again,'' said Martin presently; " I feel as 
though I could eat for a week without stopping.*' 

Adrian looked up from over his oar, at which he was 
labouring dejectedly, and said : 

" There are food and wine in the locker. I hid them 
there. Perhaps Elsa could serve them to those who wish 
to eat." 

So Elsa, who was doing nothing, found the drink and 
victuals, and handed them round to the rowers, who ate 
and drank as best they might with a thankful heart, but 
without ceasing from their task. To men who have starved 
for months the taste of wholesome provender and sound 
wine is a delight that cannot be written in words. 

When at length they had filled themselves, Adrian spoke. 

"If it is your good will, brother," he said, addressing 
Foy, " as we do not know what lies in front, nor how long 
any of us have to live, I, who am an outcast and a scorn 
among you, wish to tell you a story." 

" Speak on," said Foy. 

So Adrian began from the beginning, and told them all 
his tale. He told them how at the first he had been led 
astray by superstitions, vanity, and love; how his foolish 
confidences had been written down by spies; how he had 
been startled and terrified into signing them with results of 
which they knew. Then he told them how he was hunted 
like a mad dog through the streets of Leyden after his 
mother had turned him from her door; how he took refuge 
in the den of Hague Simon, and there had fought with 
Ramiro and been conquered by the man's address and his 
own horror of shedding a father's blood. He told them of 
his admission into the Roman faith, of the dreadful scene 
in the church when Martha had denounced him, of their 
flight to the Red Mill. He told them of the kidnapping of 
Elsa, and how he had been quite innocent of it although he 
loved her dearly; of how at last he was driven into marry- 



ATONEMENT 463 

ing her, meaning her no harm, to save her from the grip of 
Eamiro, and knowing at heart that it was no marriage ; of 
how, when the flood burst upon them, he had been hustled 
from the mill where, since she could no longer be of service 
to him and might work him injury, as he discovered after- 
wards, Ramiro had left Elsa to her fate. Lastly, in a 
broken voice, he told them of his life during the long siege 
which, so he said, was as the life of a damned spirit, and of 
how, when death thinned the ranks of the Spaniards, he 
had been made an officer among them, and by the special 
malice of Ramiro forced to conduct the executions and 
murders of such Hollanders as they took. 

Then at last his chance had come. Ramiro, thinking 
that now he could never turn against him, had given him 
Elsa, and left him with her while he went about his duties 
and to secure a share of the plunder, meaning to deal with 
his prisoners on the morrow. So he, Adrian, a man in 
authority, had provided the boat and freed them. That 
was all he had to say, except to renounce any claim upon 
her who was called his wife, and to beg their forgiveness. 

Foy listened to the end. Then, dropping his oar for a 
moment, he put his arm about Adrian's waist and hugged 
him, saying in his old cheery voice : 

"I was right after all. You know, Adrian, I always 
stood up for you, notwithstanding your temper and queer 
ways. No, I never would believe that you were a villain, 
but neither could I ever have believed that you were quite 
such an ass." 

To this outspoken estimate of his character, so fallen and 
crushed was he, his brother had not the spirit to reply. 
He could merely tug at his oar and groan, while the tears 
of shame and repentance ran down his pale and handsome 
face. 

"Never mind, old fellow," said Foy consolingly. "It 
all went wrong, thanks to you, and thank? to you I believe 



464 LYSBETH 

that it will all come right again. So we will cry quits and 
forget the rest." 

Poor Adrian glanced up at Foy and at Elsa sitting on 
the thwart of the boat by his side. 

" Yes, brother," he answered, " for you and Elsa it may 
come right, but not for me in this world, for I I have sold 
myself to the devil and got no pay." 

After that for a while no one spoke; all felt that the 
situation was too tragic for speech; even the follies, and 
indeed the wickedness, of Adrian were covered up, were 
blotted out in the tragedy of his utter failure, yes, and 
redeemed by the depth of his atonement. 

The grey light of the summer morning began to grow on 
the surface of the great inland sea. Far behind them they 
beheld the sun's rays breaking upon the gilt crown that is 
set above the tower of St. Bavon's Church, soaring over 
the lost city of Haarlem and the doomed patriots who lay 
there presently to meet their death at the murderer's 
sword. They looked and shuddered. Had it not been for 
Adrian they would be prisoners now, and what that meant 
they knew. If they had been in any doubt, what they 
saw around must have enlightened them, for here and there 
upon the misty surface of the lake, or stranded in its shal- 
lows, were the half-burnt out hulls of ships, the remains of 
the conquered fleet of William the Silent ; a poor record 
of the last desperate effort to relieve the starving city. 
Now and again, too, something limp and soft would cum- 
ber their oars, the corpse of a drowned or slaughtered man 
still clad perchance in its armour. 

At length they passed out of these dismal remains of lost 
men, and Elsa could look about her without shuddering. 
Now they were in fleet water, and in among the islands 
whereon the lush summer growth of weeds and the beauti- 
ful marsh flowers grew as greenly and bloomed as bright as 



ATONEMENT 465 

though no Spaniard had trampled their roots under foot 
during all those winter months of siege and death. These 
islets, scores and hundreds of them, appeared on every side, 
but between them all Martha steered an unerring path. 
As the sun rose she stood up in the boat, and shading her 
eyes with her hand to shut out its level rays, looked before 
her. 

" There is the place," she said, pointing to a little bul- 
rush-clad isle, from which a kind of natural causeway, not 
more than six feet wide, projected like a tongue among 
muddy shallows peopled by coots and water-hens with their 
red-beaked young. 

Martin rose too. Then he looked back behind him and 
said : 

" I see the cap of a sail upon the skyline. It is Ramiro." 

" Without doubt," answered Martha calmly. " Well, we 
have the half of an hour to work in. Pull, bow oar, pull, 
we will go round the island and beach her in the mud on 
the further side. They will be less likely to see us there, 
and I know a place whence we can push off in a hurry." 



30 



CHAPTER XXIX 

ADRIAN COMES HOME AGAIN 

THEY landed on the island, wading to it through the 
mud, which at this spot had a gravelly bottom; all of them 
except Elsa, who remained in the boat to keep watch. Fol- 
lowing otter-paths through the thick rushes they came 
to the centre of the islet, some thirty yards away. Here, 
at a spot which Martha ascertained by a few hurried pacings, 
grew a dense tuft of reeds. In the midst of these reeds was 
a duck's nest with the young just hatching out, off which 
the old bird flew with terrified quackings. 

Beneath this nest lay the treasure, if it were still there. 

" At any rate the place has not been disturbed lately," 
said Foy. Then, even in his frantic haste, lifting the little 
fledglings for he loved all things that had life, and did 
not wish to see them hurt he deposited them where they 
might be found again by the mother. 

" Nothing to dig with," muttered Martin, " not even a 
stone." Thereon Martha pushed her way to a willow bush 
that grew near, and with the smaller of the two axes, which 
she held in her hand, cut down the thickest of its stems and 
ran back with them. By the help of these sharpened stakes, 
and with their axes, they began to dig furiously, till at 
length the point of Toy's implement struck upon the head 
of a barrel. 

" The stuff is still here, keep to it, friends," he said, and 
they worked on with a will till three of the five barrels were 
almost free from the mud. 



ADRIAN COMES HOMti AGAIN 46? 

" Best make sure of these/' said Martin. " Help me, 
master/' and between them one by one they rolled them to 
the water's edge, and with great efforts, Elsa aiding them, 
lifted them into the boat. As they approached with the 
third cask they found her staring white-faced over the tops 
of the feathery reeds. 

" What is it, sweet? " asked Toy. 

" The sail, the following sail," she answered. 

They rested the barrel of gold upon the gunwale and 
looked back across the little island. Yes, there it came, 
sure enough, a tall, white sail not eight hundred yards away 
and bearing down straight upon the place. Martin rolled 
the barrel into position. 

"I hoped that they would not find it/' he said, "but 
Martha draws maps well, too well. Once, before she mar- 
ried, she painted pictures, and that is why." 

" What is to be done? " asked Elsa. 

" I don't know," he answered, and as he spoke Martha 
ran up, for she also had seen the boat. "You see," he 
went on, " if we try to escape they will catch us, for oars 
can't race a sail." 

" Oh! " said Elsa, " must we be taken after all? " 

" I hope not, girl," said Martha, " but it is as God wills. 
Listen, Martin," and she whispered in his ear. 

" Good," he said, " if it can be done, but you must watch 
your chance. Come, now, there is no time to lose. And 
you, lady, come also, for you can help to roll the last two 
barrels." 

Then they ran back to the hole, whence Foy and Adrian, 
with great toil, had just dragged the last of the tubs. For 
they, too, had seen the sail, and knew that time was short. 

"Heer Adrian," said Martin, "you have the cross-bow 
and the bolts, and you used to be the best shot of all three 
of us; will you help me to hold the causeway? " 

Now Adrian knew that Martin said this, not because he 



468 LYSBETH 

was a good shot with the cross-bow, but because he did not 
trust him, and wished to have him close to his hand, but he 
answered: 

" With all my heart, as well as I am able." 

" Very good/' said Martin. " Now let the rest of you 
get those two casks into the boat, leaving the Jufvrouw 
hidden in the reeds to watch by it, while you, Foy and 
Martha, come back to help us. Lady, if they sail round the 
island, call and let us know." 

So Martin and Adrian went down to the end of the little 
gravelly tongue and crouched among the tall meadow-sweet 
and grasses, while the others, working furiously, rolled the 
two barrels to the water edge and shipped them, throwing 
rushes over them that they might not catch the eye of the 
Spaniards. 

The sailing-boat drew on. In the stern-sheets of it 
sat Ramiro, an open paper, .which he was studying, upon 
his knee, and still slung about his body the great sword 
Silence. 

" Before I am half an hour older," reflected Martin, for 
even now he did not like to trust his thoughts to Adrian, 
" either I will have that sword back again, or I shall be a 
dead man. But the odds are great, eleven of them, all 
tough fellows, and we but three and two women." 

Just then Ramiro's voice reached them across the still- 
ness of the water. 

"Down with the sail," he cried cheerily, "for without a 
doubt that is the place there are the six islets in a line, 
there in front the other island shaped like a herring, and 
there the little promontory marked ' landing place.' How 
well this artist draws to be sure! " 

The rest of his remarks were lost in the creaking of the 
blocks as the sail came down. 

" Shallow water ahead, Sefior," said a man in the bows 
sounding with a boat-hook. 



ADRIAN COMES HOME AGAIN 469 

" Good," answered Earniro, throwing out the little 
anchor, " we will wade ashore." 

As he spoke the Spanish soldier with the boat-hook sud- 
denly pitched head first into the water, a quarrel from 
Adrian's crossbow through his heart. 

" Ah! " said Eamiro, " so they are here before us. Well, 
there can't be many of them. Now then, prepare to 
land." 

Another quarrel whistled through the air and stuck in 
the mast, doing no hurt. After this no more bolts came, 
for in his eagerness Adrian had broken the mechanism of 
the bow by over-winding it, so that it became useless. They 
leaped into the water, Eamiro with them, and charged for 
the land, when of a sudden, almost at the tip of the little 
promontory, from among the reeds rose the gigantic shape 
of Eed Martin, clad in his tattered jerkin and bearing in his 
hand a heavy axe, while behind him appeared Foy and 
Adrian. 

" Why, by the Saints! " cried Eamiro, " there's my 
weather-cock son again, fighting against us this time. Well, 
Weather-cock, this is your last veer," then he began to 
wade towards the promontory. " Charge," he cried, but 
not a man would advance within reach of that axe. They 
stood here and there in the water looking at it doubtfully, 
for although they were brave enough, there was none of 
them but knew of the strength and deeds of the red Frisian 
giant, and half-starved as he was, feared to meet him face 
to face. Moreover, he had a position of vantage, of that 
there could be no doubt. 

" Can I help you to land, friends? " said Martin, mocking 
them. " No, it is no use looking right or left, the mud 
there is very deep." 

"An arquebus, shoot him with an arquebus!" shouted the 
men in front; but there was no such weapon in the boat, 
for the Spaniards, who had left in a hurry, and without 



470 LYSBETII 

expecting to meet Red Martin, had nothing but their swords 
and knives. 

Ramiro considered a moment, for he saw that to attempt 
to storm this little landing-place would cost many lives, even 
if it were possible. Then he gave an order, " Back aboard." 
The men obeyed with alacrity. " Out oars and up anchor! " 
he cried. 

" He is clever," said Foy; " he knows that our boat must 
be somewhere, and he is going to seek for it." 

Martin nodded, and for the first time looked afraid. 
Then, as soon as Ramiro had begun to row round the islet, 
leaving Martha to watch that he did not return and rush 
the landing-stage, they crossed through the reeds to the 
other side and climbed into their boat. Scarcely were they 
there, when Ramiro and his men appeared, and a shout 
announced that they were discovered. 

On crept the Spaniards as near as they dared, that is to 
within a dozen fathoms of them, and anchored, for they 
were afraid to run their own heavy sailing cutter upon the 
mud lest they might be unable to get her off again. Also, 
for evident reasons, being without firearms and knowing the 
character of the defenders, they feared to make a direct 
attack. The position was curious and threatened to be 
prolonged. At last Ramiro rose and addressed them across 
the water. 

" Gentlemen and lady of the enemy," he said, " for I 
think that I see my little captive of the Red Mill among 
you, let us take counsel together. We have both of us made 
this expedition for a purpose, have we not namely, to se- 
cure certain filthy lucre which, after all, would be of slight 
value to dead men? Now, as you, or some of you, know, 
I am a man opposed to violence; I wish to hurry the end 
of none, nor even to inflict suffering, if it can be avoided. 
But there is money in the question, to secure which I have 
already gone through a great deal of inconvenience and 



ADRIAN COMES HOME AGAIN 471 

anxiety, and, to be brief, that money I must have, while you, 
on the other hand are doubtless anxious to escape hence 
with your lives. So I make you an offer. Let one of our 
party come under safe conduct on board your boat and 
search it, just to see if anything lies beneath those rushes 
for instance. Then, if it is found empty, we will withdraw 
to a distance and let you go, or the same if full, that is, 
upon its contents being unladen into the mud." 

" Are those all your terms? " asked Foy. 

" Not quite all, worthy Heer van Goorl. Among you I 
observe a young gentleman whom doubtless you have man- 
aged to carry off against his will, to wit, my beloved son, 
Adrian. In his own interests, for he will scarcely be a 
welcome guest in Leyden, I ask that, before you depart, you 
should place this noble cavalier ashore in a position where 
we can see him. Now, what is your answer? " 

" That you may go to hell to look for it," replied Martin 
rudely, while Foy added: 

" What other answer do you expect from folk who have 
escaped out of your clutches in Haarlem? " 

As he said the words, at a nod from Martin, Martha, who 
by now had crept up to them, under cover of his great form 
and of surrounding reeds, let go the stern of the boat and 
vanished. 

"Plain words from plain, uncultivated people, not un- 
naturally irritated by the course of political events with 
which, although Fortune has mixed me up in them, I have 
nothing whatever to do," answered Ramiro. "But once 
more I beg you to consider. It is probable that you have 
no food upon your boat, whereas we have plenty. Also, in 
due course, darkness will fall, which must give us a certain 
advantage; moreover, I have reason to hope for assistance. 
Therefore, in a waiting game like this the cards are with 
me, and as I think your poor prisoner, Adrian, will tell you, 
I know how to play a hand at cards." 



472 LYSBETH 

About eight yards from the cutter, in a thick patch of 
water-lilies, just at this moment an otter rose to take air 
and old dog-otter, for it was grey-headed. One of the 
Spaniards in the boat caught sight of the ring it made, and 
picking up a stone from the ballast threw it at it idly. The 
otter vanished. 

" We have been seeking each other a long while, but have 
never come to blows yet, although, being a brave man, I 
know you would wish it," said Red Martin modestly. 
" Senor Eamiro, will you do me the honour to overlook my 
humble birth and come ashore with me for a few minutes, 
man against man. The odds would be in your favour, for 
you have armour and I have nothing but a worn bull's hide, 
also you have my good sword Silence and I only a wood- 
man's axe. Still I will risk it, and, what is more, trusting 
to your good faith, we are willing to wager the treasure of 
Hendrik Brant upon the issue." 

So soon as they understood this challenge a roar of laugh- 
ter went up from the Spaniards in the boat, in which Ra- 
miro himself joined heartily. The idea of anyone volun- 
tarily entering upon a single combat with the terrible Fri- 
sian giant, who for months had been a name of fear among 
the thousands that beleaguered Haarlem, struck them as 
really ludicrous. 

But of a sudden they ceased laughing, and one and all 
stared with a strange anxiety at the bottom of their boat, 
much as terrier dogs stare at the earth beneath which they 
hear invisible vermin on the move. Then a great shouting 
arose among them, and they looked eagerly over the gun- 
wales; yes, and began to stab at the water with their swords. 
But all the while through the tumult and voices came a 
steady, regular sound as of a person knocking heavily on 
the further side of a thick door. 

" Mother of Heaven! " screamed someone in the cutter, 
" we are scuttled," and they began to tear at the false bot- 



ADRIAN COMES HOME AGAIN 473 

torn of their boat, while others stabbed still more furiously 
at the surface of the Mere. 

Now, rising one by one to the face of that quiet water, 
could be seen bubbles, and the line of them ran from the 
cutter towards the rowing boat. Presently, within six feet 
of it, axe in hand, rose the strange and dreadful figure of 
a naked, skeleton-like woman covered with mud and green 
weeds, and bleeding from great wounds in the back and 
sides. 

There it stood, shaking an axe at the terror-stricken 
Spaniards, and screaming in short gasps, 

"Paid back! paid back, Raniiro! Now sink and drown, 
you dog, or come, visit Red Martin on the shore." 

" Well done, Martha," roared Martin, as he dragged her 
dying into the boat. While he spoke, lo! the cutter began 
to fill and sink. 

" There is but one chance for it," cried Ramiro, " over- 
board and at them. It is not deep/' and springing into the 
water, which reached to his neck, he began to wade towards 
the shore. 

" Push off," cried Foy, and they thrust and pulled. But 
the gold was heavy, and their boat had settled far into the 
mud. Do what they might, she would not stir. Then 
uttering some strange Frisian oath, Martin sprang over her 
stern, and putting out all his mighty strength thrust at it 
to loose her. Still she would not move. The Spaniards 
came up, now the water reached only to their thighs, and 
their bright swords flashed in the sunlight. 

" Cut them down! " yelled Ramiro. " At them for your 
lives' sake." 

The boat trembled, but she would not stir. 

" Too heavy in the bows," screamed Martha, and strug- 
gling to her feet, with one wild scream she launched herself 
straight at the throat of the nearest Spaniard. She gripped 
him with her long arms, and down they went together. 



474 LYSBETH 

Once they rose, then fell again, and through a cloud of 
mud might be seen struggling upon the bottom of the Mere 
till presently they lay still, both of them. 

The lightened boat lifted, and in answer to Martin's 
mighty efforts glided forward through the clinging mud. 
Again he thrust, and she was clear. 

" Climb in, Martin, climb in," shouted Foy as he stabbed 
at a Spaniard. 

" By heaven! no," roared Ramiro splashing towards him 
with the face of a devil. 

For a second Martin stood still. Then he bent, and the 
sword-cut fell harmless upon his leather jerkin. Now very 
suddenly his great arms shot out; yes, he seized Ramiro 
by the thighs and lifted, and there was seen the sight of a 
man thrown into the air as though he were a ball tossed by 
a child at play, to fall headlong upon the casks of treasure 
in the skiff prow where he lay still. 

Martin sprang forward and gripped the tiller with his 
outstretched hand as it glided away from him. 

" Row, master, row," he cried, and Foy rowed madly until 
they were clear of the last Spaniard, clear by ten yards. 
Even Elsa snatched a rollock, and with it struck a soldier 
on the hand who tried to stay them, forcing him to loose 
his grip; a deed of valour she boasted of with pride all her 
life through. Then they dragged Martin into the boat. 

" Now, you Spanish dogs," the great man roared back at 
them as he shook the water from his flaming hair and 
beard, " go dig for Brant's treasure and live on ducks' eggs 
here till Don Frederic sends to fetch you." 

The island had melted away into a mist of other islands. 
No living thing was to be seen save the wild creatures and 
birds of the great lake, and no sound was to be heard except 
their calling and the voices of the wind and water. They 
were alone alone and safe, and there at a distance towards 



ADRIAN COMES HOME AGAIN 475 

the skyline rose the church towers of Leyden, for which 
they headed. 

"Jufvrouw," said Martin presently, "there is another 
flagon of wine in that locker, and we should be glad of a 
pull at it." 

Elsa, who was steering the boat, rose and found the wine 
and a horn mug, which she filled and handed first to Foy. 

" Here's a health," said Foy as he drank, " to the memory 
of Mother Martha, who saved us all. Well, she died as she 
would have wished to die, taking a Spaniard for company, 
and her story will live on." 

" Amen," said Martin. Then a thought struck him, and, 
leaving his oars for a minute, for he rowed two as against 
Foy's and Adrian's one, he went forward to where Eamiro 
lay stricken senseless on the kegs of specie and jewels in the 
bows, and took from him the great sword Silence. But he 
strapped the Spaniard's legs together with his belt. 

" That crack on the head keeps him quiet enough," he 
said in explanation, " but he might come to and give 
trouble, or try to swim for it, since such cats have many 
lives. Ah! Senor Ramiro, I told you I would have my 
sword back before I was half an honr older, or go where 
I shouldn't want one." Then he touched the spring in the 
hilt and examined the cavity. "Why," he said, "here's 
my legacy left in it safe and sound. No wonder my good 
angel made me mad to get that sword again." 

" No wonder," echoed Foy, " especially as you got Ramiro 
with it," and he glanced at Adrian, who was labouring at 
the bow oar, looking, now that the excitement of the fight 
had gone by, most downcast and wretched. Well he might, 
seeing the welcome that, as he feared, awaited him in 
Leyden. 

For a while they rowed on in silence. All that they had 
gone through during the last four and twenty hours and the 
seven preceding months of war and privation, had broken 



476 LYSBETH 

their nerve. Even now, although they had escaped the 
danger and won back the buried gold, capturing the arch- 
villain who had brought them so much death and misery, 
and their home, which, for the present moment at any rate, 
was a strong place of refuge, lay before them, still they 
could not be at ease. Where so many had died, where the 
risks had been so fearful, it seemed almost incredible that 
they four should be living and hale, though weary, with a 
prospect of continuing to live for many years. 

That the girl whom he loved so dearly, and whom he had 
so nearly lost, should be sitting before him safe and sound, 
ready to become his wife whensoever he might wish it, 
seemed to Foy also a thing too good to be true. Too good 
to be true was it, moreover, that his brother, the wayward, 
passionate, weak, poetical-minded Adrian, made by nature 
to be the tool of others, and bear the burden of their evil 
doing, should have been dragged before it was over late, 
out of the net of the fowler, have repented of his sins and 
follies, and, at the risk of his own life, shown that he was 
still a man, no longer the base slave of passion and self-love. 
For Foy always loved his brother, and knowing him better 
than any others knew him, had found it hard to believe that 
however black things might look against him, he was at 
heart a villain. 

Thus he thought, and Elsa too had her thoughts, which 
may be guessed. They were silent all of them, till of a 
sudden, Elsa seated in the stern-sheets, saw Adrian suddenly 
let fall his oar, throw his arms wide, and pitch forward 
against the back of Martin. Yes, and in place of where he 
had sat appeared the dreadful countenance of Ramiro, 
stamped with a grin of hideous hate such as Satan might 
wear when souls escape him at the last. Ramiro recovered 
and sitting up, for to his feet he could not rise because 
of the sword strap, in his hand a thin, deadly-looking 
knife. 



ADRIAN COMES HOME AGAIN 477 

" Habet!" he said with a short laugh, "habes, Weather- 
cock! " and he turned the knife against himself. 

But Martin was on him, and in five more seconds he lay 
trussed like a fowl in the bottom of the boat. 

" Shall I kill him? " said Martin to Foy, who with Elsa 
was bending over Adrian. 

" No," answered Foy grimly, " let him take his trial in 
Leyden. Oh! what accursed fools were we not to search 
him! " 

Kamiro's face turned a shade more ghastly. 

" It is your hour," he said in a hoarse voice, " you have 
won, thanks to that dog of a son of mine, who, I trust, may 
linger long before he dies, as die he must. Ah! well, this 
is what comes of breaking my oath to the Virgin and again 
lifting my hand against a woman." He looked at Elsa and 
shuddered, then went on: " It is your hour, make an end of 
me at once. I do not wish to appear thus before those 
boors." 

" Gag him," said Foy to Martin, " lest our ears be 
poisoned," and Martin obeyed with good will. Then he 
flung him down, and there the man lay, his back supported 
by the kegs of treasure he had worked so hard and sinned 
so deeply to win, making, as he knew well, his last journey 
to death and to whatever may lie beyond that solemn 
gate. 

They were passing the island that, many years ago, had 
formed the turning post of the great sledge race in which 
his passenger had been the fair Leyden heiress, Lysbeth 
van Hout. Eamiro could see her now as she was that day; 
he could see also how that race, which he just failed to win, 
had been for him an augury of disaster. Had not the 
Hollander again beaten him at the post, and that Hollander 
Lysbeth's own son by another father helped to it by 
her son born of himself, who now lay there death-stricken 
by him that gave him life. . . . They would take him 



478 LYSBETE 

to Lysbeth, he knew it; she would be his judge, that woman 
against whom he had piled up injury after injury, whom, 
even when she seemed to be in his power, he had feared 
more than any living being. . . . And after he had 
met her eyes for the last time, then would come the end. 
What sort of an end would it be for the captain red-handed 
from the siege of Haarlem, for the man who had brought 
Dirk van Goorl to his death, for the father who had just 
planted a dagger between the shoulders of his son because, 
at the last, that son had chosen to be true to his own people, 
and to deliver them from a dreadful doom? . . . Why 
did it come back to him, that horrible dream which had 
risen in his mind when, for the first time after many years, 
he met Lysbeth face to face there in the Gevangenhuis, that 
dream of the pitiful little man falling, falling through 
endless space, and at the bottom of the gulf two great hands, 
hands hideous and suggestive, reaching through the shad- 
ows to receive him? 

Like his son Adrian, Ramiro was superstitious; more, his 
intellect, his reading, which in youth had been considerable, 
his observation of men and women, all led him to the con- 
clusion that death is a wall with many doors in it; that on 
this side of the wall we may not linger or sleep, but must 
pass each of us through his appointed portal straight to the 
domain prepared for us. If so, what would be his lot, and 
who would be waiting to greet him yonder? Oh! terrors 
may attend the wicked after death, but in the case of some 
they do not tarry until death; they leap forward to him 
whom it is decreed must die, forcing attention with their 
eager, craving hands, with their obscure and ominous 
voices. . . . About him the sweet breath of the sum- 
mer afternoon, the skimming swallows, the meadows starred 
with flowers; within him every hell at which the imagina- 
tion can so much as hint. 



ADRIAN COMES HOME AGAIN 479 

Before he passed the gates of Leyden, in those few short 
hours, Ramiro, to Elsa's eyes, had aged by twenty years. 

Their little boat was heavy laden, the wind was against 
them, and they had a dying man and a prisoner aboard. So 
it came about that the day was closing before the soldiers 
challenged them from the Watergate, asking who they were 
and whither they went. Foy stood up and said: 

"We are Foy van Goorl, Red Martin, Elsa Brant, a 
wounded man and a prisoner, escaped from Haarlem, and 
we go to the house of Lysbeth van Goorl in the Bree Straat." 

Then they let them through the Watergate, and there, 
on the further side, were many gathered who thanked God 
for their deliverance, and begged tidings of them. 

" Come to the house in the Bree Straat and we will tell 
you from the balcony," answered Foy. 

So they rowed from one cut and canal to another till at 
last they came to the private boat-house of the van Goorls, 
and entered it, and thus by the small door into the house. 

Lysbeth van Goorl, recovered from her illness now, but 
aged and grown stern with suffering, sat in an armchair in 
the great parlour of her home in the Bree Straat, the room 
where as a girl she had cursed Montalvo; where too not a 
year ago, she had driven his son, the traitor Adrian, from 
her presence. At her side was a table on which stood a 
silver bell and two brass holders with candles ready to be 
lighted. She rang the bell and a woman-servant entered, 
the same who, with Elsa, had nursed her in the plague. 

" What is that murmuring in the street? " Lysbeth asked. 
"I hear the sound of many voices. Is there more news 
from Haarlem? " 

"Alas! yes/' answered the woman. "A fugitive says 
that the executioners there are weary, so now they tie the 
poor prisoners back to back and throw them into the mere 
to drown." 



480 LYSBETH 

A groan burst from Lysbeth's lips. " Foy, my son, is 
there," she muttered, " and Elsa Brant his affianced wife, 
and Martin his servant, and many another friend. Oh! God. 
how long, how long? " and her head sank upon her bosom. 

Soon she raised it again and said, " Light the candles, 
woman, this place grows dark, and in its gloom I see the 
ghosts of all my dead." 

They burned up two stars of light in the great room. 

" Whose feet are those upon the stairs? " asked Lysbeth 
presently, " the feet of men who bear burdens. Open the 
large doors, woman, and let that enter which it pleases God 
to send us." 

So the doors were flung wide, and through them came 
people carrying a wounded man, then following him Foy 
and Elsa, and, lastly, towering above them all, Eed Martin, 
who thrust before him another man. Lysbeth rose from 
her chair to look. 

" Do I dream? " she said, " or, son Foy, hath the Angel 
of the Lord delivered you out of the hell of Haarlem ? " 

" We are here, mother," he answered. 

"And whom," she said, pointing to the figure covered 
with a cloak, " do you bring with you? " 

" Adrian, mother, who is dying." 

" Then, son Foy, take him hence; alive, dying, or dead, 

I have done with " Here her eyes fell upon Eed 

Martin and the man he held, "Martin the Frisian," she 
muttered, " but who " 

Martin heard, and by way of answer lifted up his prisoner 
so that the fading light from the balcony windows fell full 
upon his face. 

" What! " she cried, " Juan de Montalvo as well as his 
son Adrian, and in this room " Then she checked her- 
self and added, " Foy, tell me your story." 

In few words and brief he told it, or so much as she need 
know to understand. His last words were: "Mother, be 



ADRIAN COMES HOME AGAIN 481 

merciful to Adrian; from the first he meant no ill; he saved 
all our lives, and he lies dying by that man's dagger." 

" Lift him up," she said. 

So they lifted him up, and Adrian, who, since the knife 
pierced him had uttered no word, spoke for the first and 
last time, muttering hoarsely: 

" Mother, take back your words and forgive me before 
I die." 

Now the sorrow-frozen heart of Lysbeth melted, and she 
bent over him and said, speaking so that all might hear: 

" Welcome to your home again, Adrian. You who once 
were led astray, have done bravely, and I am proud to call 
you son. Though you have left the faith in which you were 
bred, here and hereafter may God bless you and reward you, 
beloved Adrian! " Then she bent down and kissed his 
dying lips. Foy and Elsa kissed him also in farewell before 
they bore him, smiling happily to himself, to the chamber, 
his own chamber, where within some few hours death found 
him. 

Adrian had been borne away, and for a little while there 
was silence. Then, none commanding him, but as though 
an instinct pushed him forward, Red Martin began to move 
up the length of the long room, half dragging, half-carry- 
ing his captive Eamiro. It was as if some automaton had 
suddenly been put in motion, some machine of gigantic 
strength that nothing could stop. The man in his grip set 
his heels in the floor and hung back, but Martin scarcely 
seemed to heed his resistance. On he came, and the victim 
with him, till they stood together before the oaken chair 
and the stern-faced, white-haired woman who sat in it, her 
cold countenance lit by the light of the two candles. She 
looked and shuddered. Then she spoke, asking: 

" Why do you bring this man to me, Martin? " 

" For judgment, Lysbeth van Goorl," he answered. 

" Who made me a judge over him? " she asked. 
31 



483 LYSBETH 

"My master, Dirk van Goorl, your son, Adrian, and 
Hendrik Brant. Their blood makes you judge of his blood." 

" I will have none of it," Lysbeth said passionately, " let 
the people judge him." As she spoke, from the crowd in 
the street below there swelled a sudden clamour. 

" Good," said Martin, " the people shall judge," and he 
began to turn towards the window, when suddenly, by a 
desperate effort, Eamiro wrenched his doublet from his 
hand, and flung himself at Lysbeth's feet and grovelled 
there. 

" What do you seek? " she asked, drawing back her dress 
so that he should not touch it. 

" Mercy," he gasped. 

"Mercy! Look, son and daughter, this man asks for 
mercy who for many a year has given none. "Well, Juan de 
Montalvo, take your prayer to God and to the people. I 
have done with you." 

" Mercy, mercy! " he cried again. 

" Eight months ago," she said, " I uttered that prayer to 
you, begging of you in the Name of Christ to spare the life 
of an innocent man, and what was your answer, Juan de 
Montalvo? " 

" Once you were my wife," he pleaded; " being a woman, 
does not that weigh with you? " 

" Once he was my husband, being a man did that weigh 
with you? The last word is said. Take him, Martin, to 
those who deal with murderers." 

Then that look came upon Montalvo which twice or thrice 
before Lysbeth has seen written in his face once when the 
race was run and lost, and once when in after years she had 
petitioned for the life of her husband. Lo! it was no longer 
the face of a man, but such a countenance as might have 
been worn by a devil or a beast. The eyeball started, the 
grey moustachios curled upwards, the cheek-bones grew 
high and sharp. 






ADRIAN COMES HOME AGAIN 483 

"Night after night," he gasped, "you lay at my side, 
and I might have killed you, as I have killed that brat of 
yours and I spared you, I spared you." 

" God spared me, Juan de Montalvo, that He might bring 
us to this hour; let Him spare you also if He will. I do 
not judge. He judges and the people," and Lysbeth rose 
from her chair. 

" Stay! " he cried, gnashing his teeth. 

" No, I stay not, I go to receive the last breath of him you 
have murdered, my son and yours." 

He raised himself upon his knees, and for a moment their 
eyes met for the last time. 

" Do you remember? " she said in a quiet voice, " many 
years ago, in this very room, after you had bought me at the 
cost of Dirk's life, certain words I spoke to you? Now I 
do not think that it was I who spoke, Juan de Montalvo." 

And she swept past him and through the wide doorway. 

Eed Martin stood upon the balcony gripping the man 
Eamiro. Beneath him the broad street was packed with 
people, hundreds and thousands of them, a dense mass 
seething in the shadows, save here and again where a torch 
or a lantern flared showing their white faces, for the moon, 
which shone upon Martin and his captive, scarcely reached 
those down below. As gaunt, haggard, and long-haired, he 
stepped upon the balcony, they saw him and his burden, and 
there went up such a yell as shook the very roofs of Leyden. 
Martin held up his hand, and there was silence, deep silence, 
through which the breath of all that multitude rose in sighs, 
like the sighing of a little wind. 

" Citizens of Leyden, my masters," the Frisian cried, in 
a great, deep voice that echoed down the street, " I have a 
word to say to you. This man here do you know him? " 

Back came an answering yell of " Aye! " 

" He is a Spaniard," went on Martin, " the noble Count 



484 LYSBETH 

Juan de Montalvo, who many years past forced one Lysbeth 
van Hout of this city into a false marriage, buying her at the 
price of the life of her affianced husband, Dirk van Goorl, 
that he might win her fortune." 

" We know it," they shouted. 

" Afterwards he was sent to the galleys for his crimes. 
He came back, and was made Governor of the Gevangenhuis 
by the bloody Alva, where he brought to death your brother 
and past burgomaster, Dirk van Goorl. Afterwards he kid- 
napped the person of Elsa Brant, the daughter of Hendrik 
Brant, whom the Inquisition murdered at The Hague. "We 
rescued her from him, my master, Foy van Goorl, and I. 
Afterwards he served with the Spaniards as a captain of 
their forces in the siege of Haarlem yonder Haarlem that 
fell three days ago, and whose citizens they are murdering 
to-night, throwing them two by two to drown in the waters 
of the Mere." 

" Kill him! Cast him down! " roared the mob. " Give 
him to us, Red Martin." 

Again the Frisian lifted his hand and again there was 
silence; a sudden, terrible silence. 

" This man had a son; my mistress, Lysbeth van Goorl, 
to her shame and sorrow, was the mother of him. That son, 
repenting, saved us from the sack of Haarlem, yea, through 
him the three of us, Foy van Goorl, Elsa Brant, and I, 
Martin Roos, their servant, are alive to-night. This man 
and his Spaniards overtook us on the lake, and there we con- 
quered him by the help of Martha the Mare, Martha whom 
they made to carry her own husband to the fire. We con- 
quered him, but she she died in the fray; they stabbed her 
to death in the water as men stab an otter. Well, that son, 
the Heer Adrian, he was murdered in the boat with a knife- 
blow given by his own father from behind, and he lies here 
in this house dead or dying. 

" My master and I, we brought this man, who to-day is 



ADRIAN COMES HOME AGAIN 485 

called Ramiro, to be judged by the woman whose husband 
and son he slew. But she would not judge him; she said, 
' Take him to the people, let them judge.' So judge now, 
ye people/' and with an effort of his mighty strength Martin 
swung the struggling body of Ramiro over the parapet of 
the balcony and let him hang there above their heads. 

They yelled, they screamed in their ravenous hate and 
rage; they leapt up as hounds leap at a wolf upon a wall. 

" Give him to us, give him to us! " that was their cry. 

Martin laughed aloud. " Take him then," he said; 
" take him, ye people, and judge him as you will," and with 
one great heave he hurled the thing that writhed between 
his hands far out into the centre of the street. 

The crowd below gathered themselves into a heap like 
water above a boat sinking in the heart of a whirlpool. For 
a minute or more they snarled and surged and twisted. 
Then they broke up and went away, talking in short, eager 
sentences. And there, small and dreadful on the stones, 
lay something that once had been a man. 

Thus did the burghers of Leyden pass judgment and 
execute it upon that noble Spaniard, the Count Juan de 
Montalvo. 



CHAPTER XXX 

TWO SCENES 

Scene the First 

SOME months had gone by, and Alkinaar, that heroic little 
city of the north, had turned the flood of Spanish victory. 
Full of shame and rage, the armies of Philip and of Valdez 
marched upon Ley den, and from November, 1573, to the 
end of March, 1574, the town was besieged. Then the 
soldiers were called away to fight Louis of Nassau, and 
the leaguer was raised till, on the fatal field of Mook Heath, 
the gallant Louis, with his brother Henry and four thousand 
of their soldiers, perished, defeated by D'Avila. Now once 
more the victorious Spaniards threatened Leyden. 

In a large bare room of the Stadthuis of that city, at the 
beginning of the month of May, a man of middle-age might 
have been seen one morning walking up and down, mut- 
tering to himself as he walked. He was not a tall man 
and rather thin in figure, with brown eyes and beard, hair 
tinged with grey, and a wide brow lined by thought. This 
was William of Orange, called the Silent, one of the great- 
est and most noble of human beings who ever lived in any 
age; the man called forth by God to whom Holland owes 
its liberties, and who for ever broke the hideous yoke of 
religious fanaticism among the Teuton races. 

Sore was his trouble on this May morning. But last 
month two more of his brothers had found death beneath 
the sword of the Spaniard, and now this same Spaniard, 



TWO SCENES 487 

with whom he had struggled for all these weary years, was 
marching in his thousands upon Leyden. 

" Money," he was muttering to himself. " Give me 
money, and I will save the city yet. With money ships 
can be built, more men can be raised, powder can be bought. 
Money, money, money and I have not a ducat! All gone, 
everything, even to my mother's trinkets and the plate upon 
my table. Nothing is left, no, not the credit to buy a dozen 
geldings." 

As he thought thus one of his secretaries entered the 
room. 

" Well, Count/' said the Prince, " have you been to them 
all?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" And with what success? " 

" The burgomaster, van de Werff, promises to do every- 
thing he can, and will, for he is a man to lean on, but money 
is short. It has all left the country and there is not much 
to get." 

" I know it," groaned Orange, " you can't make a loaf 
from the crumbs beneath the table. Is the proclamation 
put up inviting all good citizens to give or lend in this hour 
of their country's need? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Thank you, Count, you can go; there is nothing more 
to do. We will ride for Delft to-night." 

" Sir," said the secretary, " there are two men in the 
courtyard who wish to see you." 

"Are they known?" 

"Oh yes, perfectly. One is Foy van Goorl, who went 
through the siege of Haarlem and escaped, the son of the 
worthy burgher, Dirk van Goorl, whom they did to death 
yonder in the Gevangenhuis; and the other a Friesland 
giant of a man called Red Martin, his servant, of whose 
feats of arms you may have heard. The two of them held 



488 LYSBETH 

a shot tower in this town against forty or fifty Spaniards, 
and killed I don't know how many." 

The Prince nodded. " I know. This Bed Martin is a 
Goliath, a brave fellow. What do they want? " 

" I am not sure," said the secretary with a smile, " but 
they have brought a herring-cart here, the Frisian in the 
shafts for a horse, and the Heer van Goorl pushing behind. 
They say that it is laden with ammunition for the service 
of their country." 

" Then why do they not take it to the Burgomaster, or 
somebody in authority? " 

" I don't know, but they declare that they will only de- 
liver it to you in person." 

"You are sure of your men, Count? You know," he 
added, with a smile, " I have to be careful." 

" Quite, they were identified by several of the people in 
the other room." 

" Then admit them, they may have something to say." 

" But, sir, they wish to bring in their cart." 

" Very well, let them bring it in if it will come through 
the door," answered the Prince, with a sigh, for his thoughts 
were far from these worthy citizens and their cart. 

Presently the wide double doors were opened, and Eed 
Martin appeared, not as he was after the siege of Haarlem, 
but as he used to be, well-covered and bland, with a beard 
even longer and more fiery than of yore. At the moment 
he was strangely employed, for across his great breast lay 
the broad belly-band of a horse, and by its means, harnessed 
between the shafts, he dragged a laden cart covered with an 
old sail. Moreover the load must have been heavy, for not- 
withstanding his strength and that of Foy, no weakling, who 
pushed behind, they had trouble in getting the wheels up a 
little rise at the threshold. 

Foy shut the doors, then they trundled their cart into the 
middle of the great room, halted and saluted. So curious 



TWO SCENES 489 

was the sight, and so inexplicable, that the Prince, forget- 
ting his troubles for a minute, burst out laughing. 

" I daresay it looks strange, sir," said Foy, hotly, the 
colour rising to the roots of his fair hair, " but when you 
have heard our story I am not sure that you will laugh 
at us." 

" Mynheer van Goorl," said the Prince with grave cour- 
tesy, " be assured that I laugh at no true men such as your- 
self and your servant, Martin the Frisian, and least of all at 
men who could hold yonder shot tower against fifty Span- 
iards, who could escape out of Haarlem and bring home 
with them the greatest devil in Don Frederic's army. It 
was your equipage I laughed at, not yourselves," and he 
bowed slightly first to the one and then to the other. 

" His Highness thinks perhaps," said Martin, " that the 
man who does an ass's work must necessarily be an ass," at 
which sally the Prince laughed again. 

" Sir," said Foy, " I crave your patience for a while, and 
on no mean matter. Your Highness has heard, perhaps, of 
one Hendrik Brant, who perished in the Inquisition." 

" Do you mean the goldsmith and banker who was said 
to be the richest man in the Netherlands? " 

" Yes, sir, the man whose treasure was lost." 

" I remember whose treasure was lost though it was 
reported that some of our own people got away with it," 
and his eyes wandered wonderingly to the sail which hid 
the burden on the cart. 

" Sir," went on Foy, " you heard right; Eed Martin and 
I, with a pilot man who was killed, were they who got away 
with it, and by the help of the waterwife, who now is dead, 
and who was known as Mother Martha, or the Mare, we hid 
it in Haarlemer Meer, whence we recovered it after we 
escaped from Haarlem. If you care to know how, I will tell 
you later, but the tale is long and strange. Elsa Brant 
was with us at the time " 



490 LYSBETH 

"She is Hendrik Brant's only child, and therefore the 
owner of his wealth, I believe? " interrupted the Prince. 

" Yes, sir, and my affianced wife." 

" I have heard of the young lady, and I congratulate you. 
Is she in Leyden?" 

" No, sir, her strength and mind were much broken by the 
horrors which she passed through in the siege of Haarlem, 
and by other events more personal to her. Therefore, when 
the Spaniards threatened their first leaguer of this place, I 
sent her and my mother to Norwich in England, where they 
may sleep in peace." 

"You were wise indeed, Heer van Goorl," replied 
the Prince with a sigh, " but it seems that you stopped 
behind?" 

" Yes, sir, Martin and I thought it our duty to see this 
war out. When Leyden is safe from the Spaniards, then we 
go to England, not before." 

"When Leyden is safe from the Spaniards " and 

again the Prince sighed adding, "well, you have a true 
heart, young sir, and a right spirit, for which I honour both 
of you. But I fear that things being thus the Jufvrouw 
cannot sleep so very peacefully in Norwich after all." 

" We must each bear our share of the basket," answered 
Foy sadly; " I must do the fighting and she the watching." 

" It is so, I know it, who have both fought and watched. 
Well, I hope that a time will come when you will both of 
you do the loving. And now for the rest of the story." 

" Sir, it is very short. We read your proclamation in the 
streets this morning, and learned from it for certain what 
we have heard before, that you are in sore want of money 
for the defence of Leyden and the war at large. Therefore, 
hearing that you were still in the city, and believing this 
proclamation of yours to be the summons and clear com- 
mand for which we waited, we have brought you Hendrik 
Brant's treasure. It is there upon the cart," 



TWO SCENES 491 

The Prince put his hand to his forehead and reeled back 
a step. 

" You do not jest with me, Foy van Goorl? " he said. 

" Indeed no." 

" But stay; this treasure is not yours to give, it belongs 
to Elsa Brant." 

" Sir, the legal title to it is in myself, for my father was 
Brant's lawful heir and executor, and I inherit his rights. 
Moreover, although a provision for her is charged upon it, 
it is Elsa's desire I have it written here under her hand 
and witnessed that the money should be used, every ducat 
of it, for the service of the country in such way as I might 
find good. Lastly, her father, Hendrik Brant, always be- 
lieved that this wealth of his would in due season be of such 
service. Here is a copy of his will, in which he directs that 
we are to apply the money ' for the defence of our country, 
the freedom of religious Faith, and the destruction of the 
Spaniards in such fashion and at such time or times as God 
shall reveal to us/ When he gave us charge of it also, his 
words to me were: 'I am certain that thousands and tens 
of thousands of our folk will live to bless the gold of 
Hendrik Brant/ On that belief too, thinking that God 
put it into his mind, and would reveal His purpose in His 
own hour, we have acted all of us, and therefore for the sake 
of this stuff we have gone to death and torture. Now it has 
come about as Brant foretold; now we understand why all 
these things have happened, and why we live, this man and 
I, to stand before you, sir, to-day, with the hoard unmin- 
ished by a single florin, no, not even by Martin's legacy." 

" Man, you jest, you jest! " said Orange. 

Foy made a sign, and Martin going to the cart, pulled off 
the sail-cloth, revealing the five mud-stained barrels painted, 
each of them, with the mark B. There, too, ready for the 
purpose, were a hammer, mallet, and chisel. Resting the 
shafts of the cart upon a table, Martin climbed into it, 



492 LYSBETH 

and with a few great blows of the mallet, drove in the head 
of a cask selected at hazard. Beneath appeared wool, which 
he removed, not without fear lest there might be some mis- 
take; then, as he could wait no longer, he tilted the barrel 
up and shot its contents out upon the floor. 

As it chanced this was the keg that contained the jewels 
into which, foreseeing troublous days, from time to time 
Brant had converted the most of his vast wealth. Now in 
one glittering stream of red and white and blue and green, 
breaking from their cases and wrappings that the damp had 
rotted, save for those pearls, the most valuable of them all, 
which were in the watertight copper box they fell jingling 
to the open floor, where they rolled hither and thither like 
beans shot from a sack in the steading. 

" I think there is only this one tub of jewels," said Foy 
quietly; " the rest, which are much heavier, are full of gold 
coin. Here, sir, is the inventory so that you may check the 
list and see that we have kept back nothing/' 

But William of Orange heeded him not, only he looked at 
the priceless gems and muttered, " Fleets of ships, armies 
of men, convoys of food, means to bribe the great and buy 
goodwill aye, and the Netherlands themselves wrung from 
the grip of Spain, the Netherlands free and rich and happy! 
God! I thank Thee Who thus hast moved the hearts of 
men to the salvation of this Thy people from sore danger." 

Then in the sudden ecstasy of relief and joy, the great 
Prince hid his face in his hands and wept. 

Thus it came about that the riches of Hendrik Brant, 
when Leyden lay at her last gasp, paid the soldiers and built 
the fleets which, in due time, driven by a great wind sent 
suddenly from heaven across the flooded meadows, raised 
the dreadful siege and signed the doom of Spanish rule in 
Holland. Therefore it would seem that not in vain was 
Hendrik Brant stubborn and foresighted, that his blood and 



TWO SCENES 493 

the blood of Dirk van Goorl were not shed in vain; that not 
in vain also did Elsa suffer the worst torments of a woman's 
fear in the Eed Mill on the marshes; and Foy and Martin 
play their parts like men in the shot-tower, the Gevangen- 
huis and the siege, and Mother Martha the Sword find a 
grave and rest in the waters of the Haarlem Meer. 

There are other morals to this story also, applicable, per- 
haps, to our life to-day, but the reader is left to guess them. 

Scene the Second 

Leyden is safe at last, and through the broken dykes Foy 
and Martin, with the rescuing ships, have sailed, shouting 
and red-handed, into her famine-stricken streets. For the 
Spaniards, those that are left of them, are broken and have 
fled away from their forts and flooded trenches. 

So the scene changes from warring, blood-stained, tri- 
umphant Holland to the quiet city of Norwich and a quaint 
gabled house in Tombland almost beneath the shadow of the 
tall spire of the cathedral, which now for about a year had 
been the home of Lysbeth van Goorl and Elsa Brant. Here 
to Norwich they had come in safety in the autumn of 1573 
just before the first siege of Leyden was begun, and here 
they had dwelt for twelve long, doubtful, anxious months. 
News, or rather rumours, of what was passing in the Nether- 
lands reached them from time to time; twice even there 
came letters from Foy himself, but the last of these had been 
received many weeks ago just as the iron grip of the second 
leaguer was closing round the city. Then Foy and Martin, 
so they learned from the letter, were not in the town but 
with the Prince of Orange at Delft, working hard at the fleet 
which was being built and armed for its relief. 

After this there was a long silence, and none could tell 
what had happened, although a horrible report reached 
them that Leyden had been taken, sacked, and burnt, and 



494 LYSBETH 

all its inhabitants massacred. They lived in comfort here 
in Norwich, for the firm of Munt and Brown, Dirk van 
Goorl's agents, were honest, and the fortune which he had 
sent over when the clouds were gathering thick, had been 
well invested by them and produced an ample revenue. 
But what comfort could there be for their poor hearts thus 
agonised by doubts and sickening fears? 

One evening they sat in the parlour on the ground floor 
of the house, or rather Lysbeth sat, for Elsa knelt by her, 
her head resting upon the arm of the chair, and wept. 

" Oh! it is cruel," she sobbed, "it is too much to bear. 
How can you be so calm, mother, when perhaps Foy is 
dead?" 

" If my son is dead, Elsa, that is God's "Will, and I am 
calm, because now, as many a time before, I resign myself 
to the Will of God, not because I do not suffer. Mothers can 
feel, girl, as well as sweethearts." 

" Would that I had never left him," moaned Elsa. 

"You asked to leave, child; for my part I should have 
bided the best or the worst in Leyden." 

" It is true, it is because I am a coward; also he wished it." 

" He wished it, Elsa, therefore it is for the best; let us 
await the issue in patience. Come, our meal is set." 

They sat themselves down to eat, these two lonely women, 
but at their board were laid four covers as though they 
expected guests. Yet none were bidden only this was 
Elsa's fancy. 

" Foy and Martin might come," she said, " and be vexed 
if it seemed that we did not expect them." So for the last 
three months or more she had always set four covers at the 
table, and Lysbeth did not gainsay her. In her heart she 
too hoped that Foy might come. 

That very night Foy came, and with him Red Martin, the 
great sword Silence still strapped about his middle. 



TWO SCENES 495 

" Hark! " said Lysbeth suddenly, " I hear my son's foot- 
step at the door. It seems, Elsa, that, after all, the ears of 
a mother are quicker than those of a lover." 

But Elsa never heard her, for now now at length, she 
was wrapped in the arms of Foy; the same Foy, but grown 
older and with a long pale scar across his forehead. 

" Yet," went on Lysbeth to herself, with a faint smile on 
her white and stately face, " the son's lips are for the lover 
first." 

An hour later, or two, or three, for who reckoned time 
that night when there was so much to hear and tell, while 
the others knelt before her, Foy and Elsa hand in hand, and 
behind them Martin like a guardian giant, Lysbeth put up 
her evening prayer of praise and thanksgiving. 

" Almighty God," she said in her slow, sonorous voice, 
" Thy awful Hand that by my own faithless sin took from 
me my husband, hath given back his son and mine who 
shall be to this child a husband, and for us as for our coun- 
try over sea, out of the night of desolation is arisen a dawn 
of peace. Above us throughout the years is Thy Everlast- 
ing Will, beneath us when our years are done, shall be Thy 
Everlasting Arms. So for the bitter and the sweet, for the 
evil and the good, for the past and for the present, we, Thy 
servants, render Thee glory, thanks, and praise, God of 
our fathers, That fashioneth us and all according to Thy 
desire, remembering those things which we have forgotten 
and foreknowing those things which are not yet. There- 
fore to Thee, Who through so many dreadful days hast led 
us to this hour of joy, be glory and thanks, Lord of the 
living and the dead. Amen." 

And the others echoed " To Thee be glory and thanks, 
Lord of the living and the dead. Amen." 

Then, their prayer ended, the living rose, and, with 
separations done and fears appeased at last, leant towards 



496 LYSBETH 

each other in the love and hope of their beautiful 
youth. 

But Lysbeth sat silent in the new home, far from the land 
where she was born, and turned her stricken heart towards 
the dead. 



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